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Within these fourteen years I have spoken the 
contents of this book— {sometimes in the form oi 
a summary, as one long lecture; at other times, 
more completely, as several lectures) — in all the 
large towns, and in many of the other towns and 
villages of England, Scotland, and Wales ; but they 
are now wriUeii, lor the first time. I have written 
them at the urgent request of hundreds of my 
hearers, who assure me they wish to see in print 
what they have listened to with gratification. 

In puttmg my spoken words into writing, I have 
thought it better to preserve the tone of familiarity 
— the iteration— the colloquialism — the lively in- 
terrogative — in brief, all that marks the manner and 
method of the popular lecturer, who, if he would 
be successful, must practise every art of address in 
order to lead his hearers to thmk. And I trust 


thai the light thoughts here printed may lead light 
readers to take up my book and read — until they 
feel so much attracted by the important evidence it 
treats, that they determine to enter, without delay, 
on a full and complete study of it in Paley, and 
Home, and Lardner; as well as in the valuable 
contributions to the " evidences " by Canon West- 
cott, and other excellent writers of our times. 

I may be allowed to add that the " Historical 
evidence" has only formed a part of my work, as a 
lecturer, during these last fourteen years. The 
Miracles, the Resurrection, the perfect Moral 
Teaching, and the unique escellence of the cha- 
racter of Christ, have also been repeatedly taken up 
and treated in my lectures. And being deeply 
aware of the tendency to atheistic questioning in 
our day, I have also dealt with the arguments for 
Natural, as well as Revealed Religion, Thus, I 
have treated familiarly and in popular terms, not 
only the " Design argument," so finely expounded 
by Paley, but also the "Argument d-priori" — now, 
at length, after all the partial successes of Clarke, 
and Howe, and Locke, and a host of lesser names, 
so perfectly and irrefutably established by my 
highly intelligent friend, Mr, Gillespie. The 
argument for God's existence from the fact of ottr 
own Moral Nature, the arguments against Mate- 


rialism and for a Future State of Rewards and 
Punishments, have had also to be taken up and 
treated, with such poor ability as I possess, in order 
to complete the full course of Evidence. If the 
sample of my lecturing which I now publish meets 
with acceptance, I may try to put the rest — all as 
yet only spoken — into writing for publication. 


July, 1871. 



THERE seems to be one question which every 
one has a right to ask the man who says that 
Christianity is not true. And the question is this : 
If Chrisrianity be not true, where did it come 
from? — how came it into the world? You say, 
Christianity is not true. Then, what is it, if it be 
not true? What is its origin? — how comes it to 
be here, in this land, and in other lands, at this 
present lime ? 

The question that we ask is not a light, frivolous 
one. This Christianity is understood to be the 
professed religion of 335 millions of the human 
nice, now dwelling on this globe. They are not 
savages : they are not nations bearing a stereotyped 
resemblance of civilization. They are the noblest 
peopleson the face of the earth: the nations that have 
the highest science, arts, power, and cultiue ever yet 
attained by man. How comes it that these nations 

profess the Ch m 1 gi n 7 and how came 
Christianity i t th Id ? Where did it come 

from ? as we k d t fir t 

There are b t Tw Th o es that can make any 
pretension to be considered formidable which have 
been put forth as answers to this question. The old 
theory, so well known as the "Sun Theory;" and 
the later one, which has been called the " Mythical 
Theory." Let us look at the older theory first. 

The "Sun Theory" is understood to owe its 
faUierhood, as a complete hjijothesis, to the nota- 
ble Sir William Drummond, who presented it to 
the restricted circle of critical enquirers, in his 
" CEdipus Judaicus." Godfrey Higgins, of Skellow 
Grange, near Doncaster, laboured more than twenty 
years, he assures us, in the compilation of a huge 
quarto book, entitled "The Anacalypsis." In this 
book — which is one of the strangest collections of 
strange learning ever written— the Sun Theory is 
also maintained ; but like the work of Sir William 
Drummond, the " Anacalypsis " is only known to 
the small circle of readers who make eager search 
for everything that is curious. Perhaps the books • 
of Dupuis and Volncy, the French supporter 
the Sun Theory, are more n-idcly known, Indeed,! 
the "Ruins of Empires," by Volney, is known tt 
thousands by a common English translation. 

But the Sun Theory owes its real popularity in 
own country to the " Reverend " Robert Taylor 


he usually slyltd himself. He was educated at one 
of the universities, and ordained for a clergjinan ■ 
but, becoming sceptical, threw up his ctuacy, and 
ventured on London, as a free-thinking teacher. 
la the years 1824 — 34 he taught publicly, in diat 
capacity, in the Rotunda, a well-known room at 
that time, on the south side of Elackfriars Bridge, 
and in other public places in the metropolis. He 
also published a book entided " The Diegesis," in 
explication and defence of the Sun theory. 

"And what is this theory?" say you. It is this; 
That no real human person called Jesus of Naza- 
reth ever existed ; that Christ only represents the 
Sun, like the Krishna of the Hindoos, the Osiris of 
the Egyptians, the Mithras of the Persians, the 
Phcebus Apollo of the Greeks, and the Sun god 
whom our Anglo-Saxon forefathers worshipped on 
Sunday. Jesus Christ is simply a personification of 
the Sun, and never had any real human existence. 
And what is called Christianity is only the oid fable 
of the Sun in a new form : the story so often re- 
peated in the mythologies of the ancient nations has 
at length taken tlits new guise of " Christianity" — 
which, in a word, is only Paganism slightly altered. 

" And what are the proofs,'' say you, " given of 
the truth of this theorj-, by Taylor and bis prede- 
cessors?" There are no proofs ; they were never 
attempted. " What I are there no alleged facts on 
which the theory rests?" No, on\^ ^Mnive?,-, -ww 


facts, but fancies — such as these ; This Jesus of 
Nazareth is related to have had Twelve Apostles, 
and it is said that He " went in and out among 
them." That is only the sun going in and out 
among the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and bring- 
ing the twelve calendar months in their turn. This 
Jesus of Nazareth is related to have died and risen 
again. That is only the sun setting and rising again. 
The Divine Child is said to have been bom at 
Christmas-tide, when the sun has run his yearly 
course and days are shortest. That is the sun, who 
may be said to be bom ayain on the shortest day. 

Fancies, you know, have often taken as strong a 
hold of the human mind as facts ; and so we are 
not entitled to despise these fancies. We must 
proceed to rigid historical enquiry for ourselves. 
We must ascertain whether it be an historical fact 
that there has been such a real human person Uving 
in this world as Jesus of Nazareth. We must be 
able to confront that man with a positive and truth- 
ful denial who tells us that Jesus never walked the 
streets of Jemsalem, or climbed the Mount of 
Olives, or travelled over the land of Galilee, or 
sailed over the lake of Gennesaret with his dis- 
ciijles ; that he never was baptized by John in the 
Jordan ; that he never chose his twelve disciples ; 
that he never taught the great doctrines, never 
rehearsed the parables attributed to him in die 
New Testament; that he never performed his:« 


mighty miracles, never was crucified, and never 
rose from the dead. 

We cannot begin this inquiry where Paley, in 
his masterly "Evidences," begins it. We cannot 
set Clirist himself, or his apostles undergoing suf- 
ferings in consequence of their belief ia Hini, before 
the sceptic by way of commencement. He would 
say, " Prove that such a person existed. You are 
tiegging the inquiry at once." We must take a 
very different course. 

Let me invite you to accompany me, in a march, 
or journey, over the Bridge of History, which we 
will ccnceiye as spanning the Gulf of Time. Not 
time to come, but time Past. Time is the great 
oblivious gulf in which all man's past deetls, words, 
and thoughts are alike entombed, save thC' slight 
thread of them that memory has recorded. And 
this slight thread is, in reality, die slender " Bridge 
of History over the Gulf of Time," of wiiich we are 
speaking, and over which we propose to travel. Our 
journey will be a retrogressive and retrospective one. 
And this Bridge of which I speak will have to be 
composedof Nineteen Arches, representing theNine- 
teen Centuries of Christianity. Andwewlll call each 
of these Arches by some distinguishing name, to 
render it rememberable, and to aid the process of 
fixing the names of the events and actors of the 
different centuries in our minds. We shall not 
need to dwell for any great length of time on the 

Arches we shall first travel over. Th 
and most laborious part of our enquiry will have 
to come Ti'hen we are drawing near the other end 
of the Bridge, and towards the close of our journey. 

I. What shall we call this Nineteenth Century— 
the Arch of the Bridge of History on which we now 
stand? Let us call it the Arch of Science. 
Science is the boast of our age. There is more 
science in the world than ever there was, Man 
has more knowledge of nature, and mastery over its 
elements and forces, than ever he had before. But 
all the science there is in the world has not put the 
Christian religion out of the world. It is known 
and received by more millions of human beings 
than ever knew of it or received it before. There 
are more thousands of buildings for Christian wor- 
ship in the world than ever : more hundreds of thou- 
sands of teachers and preachers of the religion than 
ever ; more millions than ever of the Bible — the 
book in which the Christian religion is taught 

It is affirmed that there is not now a written 
language in the world but either the whole Bible, or 
pan of the Bible, is translated into that language- 
It is said that seventy translations of the Scriptures 
have been accomplished in our own century, chiefly 
liyChristian missionaries ; for I ought to remind you 
that Christian missionaries do not go abroad to play 
at being gentlemen. They have often the roughest 
work to perform ; often to initiate civilization. 



was the knowledge of ihat fact that led good old 
Rowland Hill to say, "a missionary ought to be 
able to preach a sermon, or make a wheelbarrow." 
And Christian missionaries are dvilizers still The 
great agencies of Christianity at home and abroad 
engage millions of mankind in one way or another; 
and iinreckonable gold and silver, and unmeasurable 
energies of men, are perpetually being spent in sus- 
taining these agencies. 

Whence has all this arisen? Among the three 
hundred and thirly-five millions of the human race 
who at present profess the Christian religion there 
are immense differences in doctrine ; but these 
millions alike hold these to be facts : that Jesus of 
Nazareth was bom into our world as the Redeemer 
of the world ; that He was baptized by John in the 
Jordan ; that he chose his twelve apostles as 
companions ; that he taught the doctrines and per- 
formed the miracles attributed to him in the New 
Testament ; that he was crucified, and rose again 
from the dead. Are these no facts ? Has Chris- 
tianity sprung out of the old fable about the sun ? 
I.*t us pass from our own arch of the Bridge of 
History to the arch before ours, in the order of time, 
and see if we find Christianity — that is to say, such 
Christianity as we ourselves profess — upon that arch. 

II. What shall we call the Eighteenth Century? 
Let uscall it the Arch of the French Revolution. 
That was the most important event of the eighteenth 


century. Its effects are being still felt, an 
likely to be felt for incalculable years to come, 
" Cut I think," says one, " you have made an un- 
lucky choice of a name in calling your new arch 
of the Bridge of History the Arch of ihe French 
Revolution. Do you not remember that they put 
Christianity out of existence in that very revolu- 
tion?" Nay, my friend ; they tried to put it out of 
existence, but did not succeed. What though they 
set up the worship of the goddess Reason in Notre 
Dame? What though theyabolished the Christian 
week and Sabbath, and established decades, with a 
holiday on the tenth day, instead? These were but 
short-lived acts of insanity. 

And yet perhaps greater opposition was never 
made to Christianity since it came into the world 
than that which was directed against it in the 
eighteenth century. In France it was attacked by 
the leading minds of Voltaire and Rousseau and 
Diderot and d'Alcmbert, and by a crowd of their 
associates. And in our own country it was opposed 
by Tindal, and Toland, and Woolston, and Blounti 
and Moi^an, and Chubb, and Anthony Collins, and 
Hume, andLord Shaftesbury, and IjordBolingbrokej 
but it was victoriously defended by the greatest 
Greek scholar of his age, Dr. Bentley ; by the two 
greatest logicians of their time, Dr. Samuel Clarke 
and Bishop Butler, as well as by Warburton, 
Sherlock, and Ray, and Deiham, and others. Chris* i 



tianitywas also being preached very vigorously in our 
country in the last century by ^Vhitlield and the two 
Wesleys, who frequently addressed thousands in the 
open air: Kingswood coUiers, and Cornish miners, 
and crowds on Kennington Common. And drunken 
men by hundreds became sober men from hearing 
them ; and bad fathers and bad husbands became 
good men. 

Where did Christiajiity come from ? I ask agaia 
Was it an old story about the sun coined into a new 
form that changed the human heart and reformed 
men's natures? And was all this attack and defence 
really about the fable of the sun ? Did Jesus of 
Nazareth never exist ? Did He never teach the 
doctrines attributed to him? never perform his 
miracles? Was he never crucified, never rose 
again from the dead ? Let us journey backward to 
the century before the eighteenth Arch of the Bridge 
of History — -before the Arch of the French Revolu- 
tion — and see if we find what we deem to be Chris- 
tianity in existence then and there. 

HI. What shall we call the Seventeenth Cen- 
tury? Let us call it the Arch of Oliver Ckom- 
wELL. He was the most distinguished person of 
the century in our own country, at any rate. And, 
thank God, there is no one ashamed of the name of 
Oliver Cromwell now. Hi; name does not lie at 
the bottom of the ditch of defamation, covered 
with the mud of spite and malice. You may thank 


my illustrious friend Thomas Cariyle for taking up 
Cromwell's great memory, and clearing it from 
the dirt so long cast upon it. Oliver Cromwell is 
known now to have been a large-hearted Christian 
man, and to have wished to establish a Christian 
Government in this land. And the " Founder of 
the -Commonweahh," as he was often called, John 
Hampden, was a Christian man, and died praying 
for his greatest enemy, as well as for England — 
"Lord, open the King's eyes I Lord, bless my 
country !" were his last words. ■ 

The seventeenth century was a distinguished J 
Christian century. If you would read the most 
profound and eloquent books on Christianity ever 
written in the English language, you must go to that 
age for them ; you must read the exhaustive Isaac 
Barrow, the deep-thinking John Howe, and Jeremy 
Taylor, " the Shakespeare of divines," with a huge 
catalogue of other noble writers. Be it ever re- 
membered that the name which deserves so much 
reverence — the name of Milton — is also a Christian 
name ; that he has left us his treatise on Christian 
doctrine ; and that he devoted his highest powers 
as a poet to the celebration of die great themes of 
Christianity. Nor let the name which deserves 
equal, if not higher reverence— the great name oi 
Newton — be forgotten ; the philosopher who walked 
so humbly with his God, and studied the Christian 
Scriptures so devoutly. And who can forget to 


name tlie inspired tinker and his immoTtal " Pil- 
grim's Progress?" He would be an ungrateful 
Christian who could forget the name of John Bun- 
yan, while making a catalogue of the worthies of 
Christian England. Nor should I think much of 
that man's honour or courage who was ashamed of 
the name of George Fox. Reckoning all the 
various periods of his incarceration, George passed 
twelve years of his brave and holy life in prison for 
conscientious opposition to the shams and tyranuiei 
of his times ; but even in prison, where he had 
often but a hard, mouldy crust to eat, and nought to 
drink save water from a bucket in which wormwood 
had been steeped, he could rejoice in Christ. 

Whence came all this devotedness to Christi- 
anity, and busy writing and thinking about it in the 
seventeenth century? Was it all a silly dream and 
misemployment of time? Did Jesus of Nazareth 
never tread this earth, never shed His blood upon 
the cross, nor ever rise again from the dead ? Has 
Chrisrianity only sprung out of sun-worship ? Let 
us journey onward to another Arch of the Bridge 
of History, and see if we find Christianity thereon. 

IV. What shall we call the Sixteenth Century ? 
Let us call it tlie Arch of Martin Luther. And 
who was Luther? One of God's sledge-hammer 
men, whom He sent into the world to do strong 
work. When God has strong work to be done ii 
the world, He does not appoint a namby-pamby 


kind of man to do it ; a man wrapped up in satin, 
and scented with lavender. No : He appoints a 
buckhom-fisted man, a sinewy man, a man of 
" muscular Christianity, "^as my good, true-hearted 
friend, Charles Kingsley, would say — to perform 
the work. Martin Luther was a muscular Chrisrian; 
and he was just the man that was wanted at his 
time of day. 

Luther lost his dear young friend, Alexis, by a 
stroke of lightning, and was stricken with the deep 
conviction that God had spared his life for some 
great and holy purpose. He was resolved to 
devote himself to religion, and imagined he could 
not be so religious anywhere as in a monastery. 
His strong-minded father had no good opinion of 
monks or monasteries, and did not wish him to go 
1 monastery — but go he would. Luther, how- 
soon found there was not so much religion in 
the monastery as he expected to find there ; bul^ 

the contrary, a great deal of irreiigion. 

He himself, nevertheless, was in earnest He 
went don-n into the depths of his own heart, and 
discovered his own depravity and sip, and cried to 
God for deliverance. He got possession of a 
Bible at last — for it was a difficult thing to get 
possession of a Bible, even in a monastery, at that 
time of day ; and in the precious book he began 
find the remedy for the evils of his nature. But he 
could find nothing in the Bible about Purgatoiy, 


HIS solem:^ conviction. 

and the power of priests to bring men's souls out 
of Purgatory, by mumbling so many masses for 
money ; be could find nothing in the Bible about 
worshipping the Virgin Mary; nothing about pray- 
ing to dead saints. The Book said there was 
"One Mediator between God and man;" it did 
not name as mediators any of the thousand and 
one saints of the Roman Catholic calendar. The 
Bible proclaimed no indulgences, recommended 
no holy wafers, set up no relics for veneration, au- 
thorized no forgiveness of sins by priests. Such, 
gradually, became Ludier's conviction j and his 
tongue burned to tell it. But, like all really good 
and great men, he was not rash, be was not pre- 
cipitate. He humbled himself before God, and 
prayed God to keep liim humble, and to save him 
from doing wrong. Yet, the more he read the 
Bible, and prayed for Divine light upon it, the 
stronger grew his conviction that the teachings of 
the Romish Church were false ; and at length 
something occurred which unloosed his tongue, 
and compelled him to speak out. 

The proud Pope of that time — perhaps the 
proudest Pope that ever lived but one, Hildebrand, 
or Gregory VII., who ordered the Emperor of 
Germany to kiss his toe ! — I say, this proud Pope 
of Luther's time, Leo X., had a great scheme in 
his mind. He was one of the gorgeous De Medicis 
family, of Florence, and was a man of sumptuous 


tastes ; and he wished to transform the Church, 
of St. Peter, at Rome into the grandest Christian 
temple in the world. The genius of Bramante, 
and the genius of Michael Angelo, stood ready to 
aid him, — but how to raise the money ? That was 
the question. Christian Europe had sent so much 
money to Rome, that it grew weary, and said it 
would send no more, for it was only like pouring 
it into a sink : nothing came out of it but stench 1 
So Pope Leo had to set his wits to work; and 
soon believed he had discovered the sure means 
of " raising the wind," as we say ; he could send « 
out indulgences for sale. 

So forth into Switzerland went Sampson the] 
monk, and forth into Germany went Tetzel, the 
Dominican friar, with indulgences to sell I If any 
poor sinner could give a few copper pieces for one 
of their bits of rotten parchment, it procured him 
pardon for all the sins he had committed since he 
was bom ! The poor sinner did not get the par- 
don, you understand, by repentance and faith in 
Christ ; but because the Pope had thrown all that 
virtue into the parchment ! The most remarkable 
thing was, that if the poor sinner could give silver 
instead of copper pieces for the parchment, the 
purchase procured him pardon not only for all the 
sins he had committed, but for all tiiat he woidd 
ever commit so long as he lived I The news of 
this infamous Papal imposture came to the cars of ■ 


Martin Luther, unloosed his tongue, and impelled 
him to speak out. 

"What!" he cried, "call you that God's reli- 
gion? I say it is the Devil's religion. Call that 
the religion from heaven? I say it comes from 
hell I" 

" Oh, shocking !" cried the poor tiniid people : 
"the holy Pope has sent the man to sell the 

" Holy Pope ? " cried Luther ; "I say — most 
wwholy Pope ! " 

" Wdioly Pope !" People thought the sky would 
fall, or the judgment-day would come ! They 
turned as white as sheets, and stared like stricken 
rats 1 Such words had never been heard of; and 
people felt sure die world must soon corae to aa 
end. But Martin Luther began to ply the sledge- 
hammer of attack in right earnest ; and very soon 
an earnest band of men joined him ; and, in the 
course of a few years they gave old Popery such 
a shaking, that she has never recovered herself up 
to the present time. Nay, — I did not say they 
killed the old snake ! Not they only scotched her. 
But she was terribly cramped and rheumatized, 
even long after Luther's time. 

God so favoured this grand labourer, that he 
died a natural death in his bed. But that was not 
the lot of all who took up his principles. In our 
own land, you know, many had to go to the stake, 



and die ia the flames, because they joined the 
spirit of Luther, and protested against Popery and 
Romish superstition. 

In the reign of our Mary alone, Lord Burleigh 
believed that two hundred and ninety were burnt 
alive, of which a considerable number were women. 
In Scotland, where Knox so manfully headed the 
struggle against Popery, the martyrs were many; 
the Scottish men thrill with as deep feeling 
when they hear pronounced the names of George 
Wishart, and Patrick Hamilton, and Henry and 
Thomas Forrest, and Norman Gourlay, and tlieir 
fellow-martyrs, as that which moves the heart of 
every Protestant Englishman, when he thinks of 
the cherished memories of Latimer, and Ridley, 
and Hooper, and Philpot, and Bradford, and 
Rowland Taylor, and Bainham, and Bilney, and 
Tyndale, and Anne Askew, aiid the rest of our 
noble army of martyrs. 

Whence came the religion concerning whose doc- 
trines there was so much contest in this sixteenth 
centmy? The contest was against corruption; 
but we cannot wonder that corruption should arise 
among the professors of Christianity. Their cor- 
ruptness does not prove the religion itself to be 
corrupt, or imtnie. It simply proves that they are 
faJlen human beings. Man corrupts everything 
that is good, or tries to do so. It is a proof of his 
depravity. No man, therefore, ought to wonder at 


the foul corruptions which Popery lias endeavoured, 
so successfully, to mingle with Christianity. 

Where came the belief of the sixteenth century 
from, that Jesus of Nazareth had lived on earth, 
worked miracles, been crucified, and risen again 
from the dead ? Is it all but a reproduction of the 
fable of the sun ? Let us journey on again, and 
see if Christianity was in existence on the Arch of 
our Bridge of History before that of Martin Luther 
V. What shall we call the Fifteenth Century 
Let us call it the Arch of the Invention of 
Printing. Just in the very middle of this Arch^ 
in the year i4So^the first Bible is printed by 
metal types, at Mayence, in Germany. Bibles, we 
learn, had been copied by writing before ; but now 
they were soon to be multiphed by printing — in 
spite of all the opposition of Popery, That i 
infamous Pope — Innocent the Eighth — whom the 
inhabitants of Rome derisively styled " Father of 
the Romans," because he had seven or eight sons 
by different mothers — was doing bold work for Satan 
in this century. On the slopes of the Dauphinese 
Alps his hell-hound instruments chased the crowds 
of lowly Christian men who held Waldensian 
opinions into caverns, woods, and clefts of the 
rocks, and slaughtered them. In this century too 
e have to chronicle those great strugglers for truth 
-strugglers against Popish corruption — who have 
won bright historic names ; Savanarola, a sort lE 


half-Pro te Slant, in Italy ; and John Huss and 
Jerorae of Prague, who preached a. reformed 
Christianity, in Moravia and Bohemia. 

Thank God ! He has always had a pure believ- 
ing Church on the earth since the Saviour appeared ! 
I repeat, there has always been such a Church 
since Christianity first came into the world, although 
it has often been a cnielly-used and persecuted 
Church. Not to dwell now on the Waldenses, 
for we shall have to meet them again, be it observed 
that the followers of Huss and' Jerome of Prague, 
maintained pure Christian tmth, before Luther 
began his great and memorable struggle for reform- 
ation. And what became of these great slrugglers 
for truth among the Moravian and Bohemian 
nations, in the fifteenth century? They were burnt 
to death. Who burned them to death ? Men who 
said that Jesus liad never lived, and that Chris- 
tianity was founded on the old fable of the sun ? 
Oh no ! the Roman Catholics, who burned them, 
believed then, as Roman Catholics believe now, — 
and as Protestants, and Protestant Dissenters, and 
Russian and Greek Christians, and Armenian 
and Maronite and Nestorian Christians, and all 
professing Christians, believe now — that Jesus 
Christ was bom into our world as the Redeemer 
of the world, that he was baptized of John in 
the Jordan, chose his twelve Apostles, taught 
his great lessons of goodness and truth, perfoimed 


his miracles, was cracified, and rose again from 
the dead. 

However widely they may differ respecting cer- 
tain doctrines, the historical facts of Christ's life 
are held to be facts alike by all the sects of profess- 
ing Christians now ; and they were also held to be 
&cts in the fifteenth century. How came they to 
be so held to be facts? Where did Christianity 
come from ? we ask again. Shall we find it in the 
world in the century preceding the fifteenth ? Let 
us advance again, in our rapid passage or march 
over the Bridge of History. 

VI. What shall we call the Fourteenth Cen- 
tury? Let us call it the Arch of John Wyck- 
LiFFE. "Our own Luther," as we may call him, 
"bom out of due time." More than one hundred 
years before Luther was teaching the Gemians, 
and before Hues taught the Bohemians and Mora- 
vians, John Wyckliffe was teaching a refonned 
Christianity in our own land, and bravely protesting 
against Popery — for he openly styled the Pope 
' Antichrist.' Nay, in Wyckliffe's time there were 
two rival Popes— two " Infallibles," denouncing and 
cursing one another — and Wyckliffe called both of 
them Antichrists. Wyckliffe's followers, you know, 
were called " Lollards,"— which is said to mean 
singers — fi'om lotiai, an old German verb, meaning 
te sing. Many of the Lollards were weavers, it 
seems J and weaving was a pooi: ttaAt (km, *&'■*. 


often is now; and so the Lollards sang the songs of 
Zion at their looms, because they could not get 
time to retire to pray. Christ's followers have 
found singing to be a sweet way of praying, many 
a time and oft, since these poor Lollards sang at 
their looms 1 

OurnobleWyckliffe, you know, strove to perform 
for Englishmen what Luther afterwards performed 
for the Germans : he translated the Bible into the 
people's common tongue. We have the fruit of 
what he did, and of what the martyred Tyndale did 
slill better, in our authorised version at the present 
time. It had been a custom for the old Romanist 
priests to have a Bible before them when they 
preached ; a Latin Bible : some people said that 
many of them could not read it very well ; but 
never mind that ! they had a Bible before them ; 
and they were often very eloquent, no doubt, in 
describing the Bible as the great map or chart of 
the way to heaven, and in declaring that no man 
could ever ha\e found his way to heaveii if God 
had not sent men this invaluable map or chart. But 
now imagine an earnest layman whose mind is 
awakened to the need of finding the way to heaven. 

" Thank you, thank you, good father!" says he ; 
" but now, so please you, most reverend father, let 
me see the map in my own hand, that I may lind 
the way." 

"See you at Jericho first I" replies the holy 



father, shutting up the book in a huny, and putting 
it behind him ; " Don't think you are to see i 
map, sir," 

" How, then, so please you, holy father," asks 
the layman, " shall I find the way?" 

" Oh, I'll tell you the way," answers the priest 

" But suppose you should make a mistake, holy 
father?" suggests the layman. 

" Mistake, sir t" cries the priest, " I'm astonished 
at your impudence in daring to suppose that I can 
mate a mistake ! Don't you know that priests are 
infallible, sir?" 

" Oh dear ! holy father I " cries the layntan, j 
aianned at the priesfs anger, "forgive me! I mu 
only thinking " 

" Thinking, sir !" cries the priest, "get away with ' 
you, sir I You have nothing to do with thinking. 
I am to think for you ; and you are to do what I 
bid you." 

Thank God that ever there was a brave Wyck- 
liife in our land to denounce all that priestly ty- 
ranny ! and let us be determined, fellow-country- 
men, that it shall never triumph again, whether it 
wear the guise of Ritualism, or be possessed of 
the open mouth and devouring maw of Popeiy. 
God Almighty so favoured our Wyckliffe that he 
died a natural death in his bed, as Luther did in 
after time. " But, forty-two years after his death, a 
popish bishop had Wyckliffc's bones dug up at 


Luttiewoith : the living, in Leicestershire, that 
John of Gaunt, is said to have given him j for "Time- 
honoured Lancaster," it is affirmed, was always 
Wyckliffe's protector. And Wyckliffe's bones 
were burned ! So silly and stupid is blind old 
superstition ! when she cannot revenge herself by 
getting a live man's blood, she bums his dead 
bones,— as if that could be any punishment to 

There were other earnest men in the world in 
the Fourteenth Century. Chaucer, also, was pro- 
testing against Popish shams, in his " Canterbuiy 
Pilgrinaage ; " and Dante was denouncing Popes, 
and leading a life of suffering exile through resist- 
ance to their ambition and tyranny. 

But where came the New Testament from? 
the book tliat WycklifFe translated ? Where came 
the belief from that there had been a real Christ 
in the world, as well as an antichrist? Did Jesus 
never exist on earth ? Is Christianity only the 
old sun fable in a new form ? Let us journey on 
again, and see if we find the Christian religion pro- 
fessed and believed when we tread the Arch of the 
Bridge of History preceding the Arch of John 

VII. What shall we call the Thirteenth Cen- 
tury? I propose that we name it tlie Arch of 
Magna Charta — for I am passionately in favour 
of all good old English associations of ideas. But 


what has Christianity to do with the Great Charter 
of English Liberty obtained from King John, by the 
Barons of Runnymede ? My friends, there is a con- 
nection that I hke very mucli to remember, and that 
you should not forget Who was the mental leader 
— the living Mind— that led and guided the 
Barons in their great victory over the tyrant King 
John? I am not thinking of the knight who led 
their army — Robert Fitzwalter. I mean their great 
counsellor and adviser — Stephen Langton, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and a Cardinal of the Holy 
Roman Church ! 

1 am a Dissenter, and don't care how soon the 
bands are broken between Church and Slate ; for 
I think it has been an unholy wedlock from the 
first But I sometimes think I Irear my Dissenting 
brethren talk very strong talk about the Established 

"The Established Church," say they, "has 
always been the foe of liberty." 

"Tell truth about the Devil himself," I alwaj'S 
reply. " Look over your History of England, 
please, and you will find that the Established 
Church has been again and again the staunch pre- 
server of English liberty. There have been periods 
in our history when there was no power but that of 
the Established Church that was able to withstand 
a tyTantking; and the Established Church (/^with- 
stand him, and successfully, too," 


" Oh 1 ay I what you are poindng to is true 
enough," observes some Dissenting brother ; "but 
there was no patriotism in it. Several occurrences 
of the kind you mean are to be found in our his- 
tory, no doubt. But Churchmen did not withstand 
royal tyranny as patriots, it was only to save some- 
thing for themselves ; it was sheer selfishness, I tell 
you — no patriotism at all !" 

My good friend, I beg to observe that if no man 
is ever to be deemed a patriot but the man that > 
has no selfishness, I fear you will never find a true ; 
patriot in the history of the whole world. We'll 
grant all the selfishness existed that you speak 
of ; but if men like Stephen Langton — who very 
Hkely wrote out Magna Charta himself, as well as ' 
struggled for it— have laboured to strengthen and j 
widen and lengthen the great platform of English ' 
liberty for you and me, let us be grateful to their 

And the memory of Langton ought to excite 
gratitude. You remember how, when John had 
put his royal seal to Magna Charta, and had taken 
an oath, in the name of the Holy Trinity, to ob- 
serve all its provisions faithfully, he sent to the 
Pope, and desired to be absolved from his oath. , 
But lately, you know, he had been a rebel against I 
the Pope; but when all other friends were gone, he I 
had been compelled to submit to the Pope, and was I 
actually paying the Pope so many hundred crowns a 


year for his kingdom ! So he desired, as he had now 
become an obedient son of tlie Church, that the 
Pope would kindly absolve him from the oath he 
had so solemnly taken to keep Magna Charta; for 
he declared it took away all his kingly poiver, and 
the Barons might as well have dethroned him as 
compelled him to take an oath to keep it And 
the' Pope absolved King John from his oath ! 

"What !" you cryj "absolve him ? how can any 
mortal absolve a man from a solemn oath taken 
in the name of his Maker, and in the presence of 
assembled thousands of his fellow-men ?" My 
good friends, do not be shocked when I assure 
you of what you may learn from history — that 
many people, at that time, believed that the 
Pope, in spiritual things, could do almost as much 
as God Almighty could do ! It is declared by 
Cardinal Bellarmine-— and Rome has no greater 
authority in the ample list of her cardmals — that if 
the Pope orders a man to commit sin, the act 
so committed becomes an act of holiness I I 
should deem that to be the highest point of the 
Devil's Grammar ; and that if he could get all pro- 
fessing Christians to become his scholars so far — 
that is, to become as great scholars as Cardinal 
Bellarmine— Old Nick would rub his paws with 
satisfaction, and say, " Now I am content !" 

But what cared Englishmen either for the Pope 
or the forsworn King ? Be it ever remembered that 


our forefathers were rather a crooked lot for Popes 
to manage. Popes could never get their own bad 
way, even in their most thrifty times, so easily in 
England as they wished. The Barons seized the 
Tower of London, and hung out their flag of 
defiance against both Pope and King. ^Vhereat 
King John raged and swore, and foamed at the 
mouth, and vowed he would have revenge on the 
rebels. So he now besought the Pope to take the 
most powerful and extreme means to aid him. 
And forthwith the Pope sent his bull of excom- 
munication into England. 

" What's that P" say you ; " a thing with horns?" 
No : it is a parchment with a curse written upon it 
in Larin, and having a leaden bullet attached to it 
as the Pope's seal — bulla is the Latin word for a 
bullet, and so it was called a "bull." And the 
curse was one of the most horrible that could be 
conceived upon all persons who would not give 
up Magna Charta and let the King have Ids own 
way, as an oppressor and a tyrant. It was a curse 
upon them "sitting and standing, and lying and 
walking, and asleep and awake, and in time and to 
all eternity — a curse that should hurl them into the 
bottomless pit, with Koran and Dathan, and 
Abiram, and Judas Iscariot," and all the vilest 
sinners that ever hved ! 

And the Pope sent this cursmg " bull" to Stephen 
Langton, the Cardinal and Archbishop of Canter- 



bury, and cominanded him to read it, openly and 
a the most solemn manner, in his cathedral, with 
all his monks and priests around him, each hold- 
a lighted candle. And when Langton had 
read the curse, every monk and priest was to dash 
out the light of his candle, by throwing it oa the 
ground and trampling it under his feet, as signifi- 
cant of the darkness of the curse that should fall 
upon this land. For if the Bull had been read by 
the Archbishop as the Pope commanded, the whole 
bmgdom of England would have been placed 
under what Papists call an "interdict"; that is 
to say, no corpse could have been buried, no 
church bells rung, no religious service performed, 
marriage celebrated, no sacrament received ! It 
would have seemed as if an unmeasurable funeral 
pall hung over the whole land ! But the Pope 
mistook his man, Stephen Langton was an Eng- 
lishman to the backbone, and would not read the 
"bull of excommunication." He loved Enghsh 
Liberty, and defied both Pope and King, Poor 
fellow I he had to go into banishment for it; and 
could not return to England until the tyrant John's 

Remember that Langton's memory is a grand 
memory ; and when you, young Englishmen, who are 
listening to me, go to look at grand old Canterbury 
Cathedral^ — and you ought also to go and look at 
York and Lincoln and M'inchester and Salisbury, 


and the other monuments of ancient grander in 
the realm— I say, when you go to Canterbiuy, and 
the verger busily points out the spot where Becket 
was murdered and where his shrine stood, and 
points to the scabbard and spurs, and helmet of 

I Edward the Black Prince, ask him to guide you 
to the tomb of Stephen LangCon, that you may 

I place your hand upon it, and call up the memory 
of such ;m Englishman with heartfelt gratitude. 

With sliame we call up the name of another 
Englishman, whom otherwise we could wish to 
praise, Simon de Montfott, who led the cruel per- 
secution of the Albigenses, in the South of France, 
to gratiiy papal power, also in this century. The 
Albigenses were another branch of Christ's suffer- 
ing but pure church, which God has always pre- 
served, under one name or other, in the world, 
since the Saviour appeared. You must read about 
them, and we must hasten on. 

Now, in this thuleenth century, there were 
grand cathedrals and stately monasteries and 
parish churches in this land; and the like in France 
and Spain and Portugal and Italy and Germany 
and other lands ; and the belief was fixed in the 
niinds of millions that Jesus of Nazareth had lived 
in the world, performed his miracles, been crucified, 
and risen from the dead. Whence came the belief? 
Djd it really arise out of the wanderings of the 
human imagination? Is Christianity, indeed, df. 



rived from the ancient fable of the sun ? Let us 
recommence our journey, and see if we find Chris- 
tianity on the Arch of the Bridge of History pre- 
ceding the thirteenth century, or Arch of Magna 

VIII. What shall we call the Twelfth Century ? 
Let us call it the Arch of the Crusades. " What 
were they P " does any one ask, I answer, The 
expedition of at least two millions of men, accord- 

5 to the very lov. ::st statement of history, to get 
possession of the Holy Land. " What Holy 
Land?" does any one ask again. I reply, The 
land, in the words of Shakespeare, 

" Over whose acres walked those Wessed feet, 
Whieh agkSien hundred yeara ago were nailed, 
Por our advantage, on the bitter cross. " 

The land in which Christ was bom, in which he 
tai^ht, worked his miracles, was crucified, and rose 
again from the dead. Kings left their thrones, and 
among them our own Caur de Lion, the bravest ; 
princes and nobles sold or pawned their lands, to 
get men and horses and ships to go and win pos- 
ion of the Holy Land. Thousands died before- 
they got out of Europe; thousands perished by 
sea, and thousands perished in Asia. But they 
won possession of Jerusalem, and had possession 
of it for eighty-eight years, as a petty, barren 
Christian kingdom ; for Crusader Kings took their 
titles from it. 


The great soul that kept up tliis enthusiasm for 
the Crusades was, doubtless, St Bernard. But 
men must have believed that Jesus Christ lived in 
Palestine, taught, and wrought his miracles there, 
was crucified, and rose again from the dead there, 
or they would not have spilt their own blood and 
wasted their wealth on these Crusades. It is not 
possible for us — the comtnerciaJ, the utilitarian, or 
the scientific men, (or whatever we please to call 
ourselves,) of the nineteenth-century, — to share in 
. the enthusiasm of the ruder, but, perhaps more 
earnest men of the twelfth centmy. They were 
just awaking from the sleep of the dark ages, and 
they reasoned thus : — 

"We ought not to let these infidel dogs, the - 
Saracens — these children of Mahound — these de- 
votees of Satan — possess that holy land where our 
Saviour's blessed feet trod, where he taught and 
worked his miracles, where he was crucified, and 
rose from the dead- We, Christian men, ought to 
possess it, and we 7vi/l possess it" 

" Deus vult 1 " (" God wills it ! ") shouted Pope 

" It is good, and right, and holy ! " affirmed St 
Bernard : and his word was saintly law, even above 
the word of any Pope ; and band after band went ■ 
on the vain errand of subduing the Holy Land. 

It was not vain in another sense ; for the ener- | 
getic passing to and fro among the peoples of c 


ferent countries of Europe, and the peoples of Asia 
and Africa as well, resulted in the laying of broad 
foundations for tlie future civilization of Europe. 
Yet I say we cannot, if we would, rekindle the 
Crusading enthusiasm. Suppose some warm-natured 
brother of our number were to say here to-night, 
"I think the Crusaders were right; and I propose 
that we all sign a petition to the Queen to send 
an army, at once, to seize Jerusalem from the 
Turks ! " 

" Oh, go to Jericho ! " we should all cry out ; 
" let the Turks keep Jerusalem, so long as they do 
us no harm by- it. What! after nine millions spent 
on that Abyssinian freak, and all the milUons spent 
in the Crimean war, do you suppose we are in the 
humour for more folly ?" 

There were many suffering for pure Christianity 
in this century. Under the hames of Paterines, or 
" Sufferers," Cathari, or " Puritans," " Weavers," 
"Poor Men," Beguines, Beghards, "Prayer-makers," 
and a variety of other names, the protesters against 
Romish superstition were scattered over the country 
of the Pyrenees, Languedoc in France, and parts of 
Gemoany and Italy ; and their lives were taken 
without pity. The fearful Inquisition was at last 
organLied against heresy, and for many long years 
ran its hideous race of cruelty. It is asserted that 
one inquisitor-general, the infamous Torquemada, 
put 9,000 persons to death; and the entire number 

slaughtered by the inquisitions is commonly stated 
at 32,000. 

But we remember the name of the Arcb of the 
Bridge of History on which we stand, and fear to 
prolong our stay upon it beyond your patience. I 
say again, men must have believed that Christ's 
well-known history was a history of facts, or they 
would not have risked their lives in the attempt to 
get possession of the land in which they believed 
that he had lived, died, and risen again from the 
dead. How came men to be believing in the life, I 
death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth? * 
Whence did this faith arise ? Where did Chris- 
tianity come from? we ask again. Did Jesus really 
never exist on this earth ; and is Christianity but a 
reproduction of the old fable of the sun? Let us 
continue our march along the Bridge of History, 
and see if we find Christianity on the arch before 
the Arch of the Crusades. 

IX. What shall we name the Eleventh Cen- 
tury? Let us call it the Arch of William the 
Conqueror. It was in this century, you remem- 
ber, that William, the Duke of Normandy, crossed 
the English Channel to get possession of our land ; 
and that he fought the battle of Hastings, where 
Harold was killed : Harold the Saxon nobleman 
whom they had placed upon the throne on the death 
of King Edward the Confessor : Edward the Con- 
fessor, whose bones lie yonder in Westminster 


Abbey yet ; you can go aad put your hand on his 
tomb, as I have done. On the aSth of December, ' 
1865, Dean Stanley delivered a rich antiquarian 
discourse in the Abbey, to celebrate the opening of 
the Abbey Church 8ao years before. King Ed- 
ward the Confessor had given much money towards 
the building, and wished to be present when the 
Abbey Church was opened for worship ; but fell 
sick, and could not leave his bed. He died six 
days after; and then William of Notmaody claimed 
the crown, and the struggle began, which ended in 
the victory of William. 

When William had held the sceptre some years, 
he grew discontented with the taxes which he de- 
rived from die land. The land-tax, you will observe, 
was ihe tax tiun. There were no great manufac- 
turing industries, of cotton, or woollen, or linen, to 
tax. The land-tax, I say, was ihe tax then. It is 
but a small tax, compared with other taxes, now. 
When landlords got the power of making taxes, 
they were sure to make the land-tax as little as 
possible, you know ; and so long as they keep the 
principal power you may be sure the land-tax will 
never be very large, William the Conqueror told 
his ministers that the land-tax was not producing 
him tlie sum he needed for government ; and they 
replied tiiat they were sure the landholders could 
not afford to pay more tax. William said, in return, 
he would know what the landholders could, afiua^i-, 


for he would have a survey made of all the estates 
in the realm. William was a man who had a will 
of his own, and he carried out the threat to the 
utmost of his power. 

He could not get the survey made in Northum- 
berland, Durham, Cumberland, or Westmoreland- 
The inhabitants of those counties were so unwilling 
to submit to him that he wasted their possessions 
with fire and sword, and yet could not subdue them. 
But the survey was made from the river Tees, the 
northern boundary of Yorkshire, to the English 
Channel ; and from the German Ocean to the 
Welsh border. And we have the survey still : the 
" Domesday Books," as they are called. Not mere 
copies of the books, but the original books, — 
the leaves of which William the Conqueror turned 
over with his own fingeis, a huge folio and a thick 
quarto ; written on parchment in a kind of hodge- 
podge language, half I-atin, half English — are still 
in our possession. 

A few years ago these volumes were photographed 
at the Government photo-zincograph establishment, 
at Southampton, and the Domesday Book is now 
sold cheap, each county separately. Get hold of a 
copy for your own county, and you will see in it 
the names of your old city, ancient boroughs, towns 
and villages, with an account of the woods and 
pastures, and other possessions, and the 
the persons who held them. But take care to mark, 




as you go along, how the book tells you that such 
a, bishop has so many carnicates or hides of land in 
such a parish, and that the priest's name in such a 
village is so-and-so. The fact of the existence of 
Christianity as the professed and established reli- 
gion of the land, is registered in the Domesday 

The power of the Papal See was great in this 
century, for Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., was Pope- 
Yet .Gregory could not get his o^vn way In England. 
Gregory had " blessed " the banner which had been 
woven by Norman ladies; and which had been 
used by William at the batde of Hastings. And 
Pope Gregory sent to tell the Conqueror that not 
his sword and valour, and tlie swords and valour of 
the Norman host, had won that battle ; the victory 
was solely attributable to the Papal blessing be- 
stowed on the banner. The argument at die end 
was, that William must compel his people to pay 
Peter-pence ; and must not dare to appoint any of 
the bishops, since the Pope meant to appoint thera 
all himself. But William snapped his fingers even 
at the potent Hildebrand, and rfi/ appoint the 

There were martyrs among the opposers of Popish 
doctrine and Popish practices in this age in several 
parts of Germany, and heretics were burned at 
Orleans in France, and God's lowly people were 
suffering for tlie pure faith in Christ in ti\G ^aSvc-j?. 


of Piedmont ; but we must not delay to give the 
recital. One book produced in this age should 
also be mentioned : the ' " Cur Dens Homo" or 
"Wherefore God became Man,'' of Anselra, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, in the reign of William Rufua, 
a most remarkable book on the Atonement of 
Christ to have been produced at such a time. 

But we must keep close to om enquiry. Where 
did the Christianity come from whose doctrines 
Anselm sought to expound, forwhicli the Vaudois 
suffered, and which has found a register of its exist- 
ence in the Domesday Books? The bishops and 
priests mentioned in those books were teaching the 
English people, and the English people believed,', 
that Jesus of Nazareth had lived on this earth,' 
taught his great doctrines, wrought his miracles, 
crucified, and rose again from the dead. How 
came the bishops and priests to be teaching, and 
the people to be believing, that these were facts? 
Was there no foundation in fact either for the 
teaching or for the belief? Did Jesus never exist 
on earth? Is what we call the " Gospel History" 
all derived from the ancient fable of the sun ? Let 
us step on again, over our Bridge of History, from 
the eleventh century, or Arch of William the Con- 
queror, to the arch preceding it, and see if we find 
Christianity there. 

X. "What shall we call the Tenth Century? 
We must call it by a very ominous name ; we must 




call it the Arch of Darkness, It is the middle 
arch of our bridge, and it may be deemed the 
darkest part of the " Dark Ages," as the Medieval 
or Middle Ages are often called. It was darkness 
indeed, a darkness like that in Egypt, " that could 
be felL" Could working men read and write in the 
tenth century? Most probably not a single work- 
ing man in all Europe ! Then, could not all the 
gentry read and write ? No ; only very few of 
them. But you will think the nobles could all read 
and write. I fear the real truth is that many of 
them could do neither. As it was the ^e of igno- 
rance so was it also the age of superstition; the 
time of grossest belief in all the "lying vanities" of 
Popery. Learning, of such kind as it was, was 
almost confined to the monks and priests. The 
moiJcs were perhaps perfomiiug their best service 
for us by copying manuscripts of the classics and 
of the Gospsls and Epistles ; but the great mass of 
the people were in profound ignorauce, and eagerly 
believed in the virtue of pilgrimages and relics. 

Men went on long and laborious joomeys to the 
distant shruies of saints — such as Our Lady of 
Loretto, and St James of CorapostcUa— to merit 
the pardon of sin, or to undergo penance for it ; 
and others went to tlie Holy Land, or at least they 
said they had been there when they returned to 
Europe, wearing palmer's weeds, that is to say, i 
lonj garment and a leathern girdle, a slQU.ctittA'wA, ^ 


on which an escalop shell was sewn, and a long 
staff to support their steps. These piljpnms from 
the Holy Land had precious relics to show; bits of 
the Inie wood of the holy cross ; and nails and 
pieces of the nails of the holy cross I And men, as 
they gazed on these " holy relics," knelt in awe, and 
crossed themselves, and repeated their paternosters 
and aves. And ver)' soon men began to weigh out 
pounds' weight of gold to give for a hit of the tnie 
wood of the cross, even if it did not weigh a quartet 
of an ounce ; and stones' weight of silver to give for 
a bit of a nail of the holy cross. 

And such was the passion for this traffic that in 
the lapse of two centuries it was computed so much 
of the true wood of the holy cross was brought into 
Europe [iiat a first-rate ship of war might have been 
made out of it, and as many nails and pieces of the 
true nails of the cross were brought into Europe as 
might have furnished all the iron-work for a first- 
rate ship of war ! A rare trade — a roaring trade — 
it seemed to have been, the trade in holy relics. 
"Supply and Demand," -you know I The fussy 
Manchester men suppose they have invented a new 
science; Political Economy, orthe laws of "Supply i 
and Demand !" Pooh, pooh ! the invention i 
before the Manchester men's time ; the old monksj 
and pilgrims were aware of a thing or two in that'l 

And as the demand increased, there was plenQf T 


of supply. The pilgrims and their monkish agents 
soon began to have otlier holy relics to sell. 
"Pigge's bones," and "shepe's bones," as Chaucer 
spells the relics, and oxen's bones. But whether 
it were a " pigge's bone," or a " shepe's bone," that . 
this relic-monger or the other had lo sell, he would 
swear it was the forefinger of St Peter, or the Hltle 
finger of St. John, or the great toe of St. Paul, or a 
rib of St. Bartholomew. One relic-monger had 
got a tin box full of the teeth of St. James ; and be 
went about rattling tliem in tlie ears of crowds 
that fell down on their knees and crossed them- 
selves in ecstacy, to think they had heard such s 
soul-saving sound ! Others had got locks of the I 
hair of the Virgin Mary's head, and many had got 
botdes full of her milk, to sell at an immense price, 
and to swell the gratitude of the gazing crowd. 
The toe of St Paul was a precious possession to 
Glastonbury Abbey — for it brought great grist to 
the monk's mill ; and in tlie crypt of old Exeter ' 
Cathedral there were more wondrous relics : a 
piece of the manger in which our Lord had laid; 
and, above all, a piece of the Burning Bush that i 
Moses saw in the wilderness I 

When Ifnrry the Eighth came to the throne, 
some 500 years and odd after this time, there was 
such a turning out of this relic-rubbish from the 
monasteries, churches, and cathedrals, as it would 
take hours to describe. The greater part of these 


instruments of jugglery were burnt, publicly, in 
market-places of the land, amidst tlie shouts and 
derision of the people, in King Harry's time. 

But had God and His Christ no witnesses, no 
real witnesses, in that dark tenth century? Oh! 
yes ; in the valleys of the Alps were tlie persecuted 
Waklenses, who would have notliing to do with . 
the Popish priests, and their pieces of rusty iron 
and rotten wood, and old rotten bones and teeth 
and rags , nothing to do, either, with their doctrines 
of pitrgatory, or worship of the Virgin Mary, or 
prayers to dead saints, or confession and absolution 
of sins. Neither would they accept the priest's 
holy wafer; but insisted on a more perfect obe- 
dience to the Saviour's command in partaking ol 
the Lord's Supper ; and it would also seem that 
immersion baptism was their practice, as being, in 
their belief, the primitive practice. But the best 
part of the record of their historyis that they clung 
to the New Testament as their true guide, and that 
they led holy and self-denying lives, and endea- 1 
vourcd thus to prove their real Christianity, And 
what became of them, do you ask ? They were 
burned, or put to death in other ways ; and some- 
limes the ways were very erne!. The Waldenses 
have been a suffering people. Recall Milton's 
noble sonnet to mind — 

"Avenge, O Lord, Tliy slaughter'd ! 


And SO on. They were being persecuted in his 
lime. In some instances they 

" Mother with infant down the rocks — " 
and cast liiige stones after them. The news of 
these Popisli murders caine to Ohver Cromwell's 
ears. " Write to the Pope," said he to his secre- 
tary, John Milton, " and tell him if all that 
devil's work be not ended, he shall soon hear the 
English cannon at Rome I " The Pope put an 
end to the murders at dnce ! Men knew whom 
Ihey had to deal with when Oliver Cromwell inti- 
mated what he would do, and dare not trifle. 
Don't you think we want somebody with his spirit, 
now and then, in our own day? 

But to our enquiry. The murdered Waldenses 
rejoiced in Christ while they were dying, and in 
the midst of cmel tortures. How came they to be 
willing to suffer death? How came they to be 
reading the New Testament, and taking it as a 
guide ? Where did the book come from ? where 
did the religion come from that it proclaims ? Did 
Jesus of Nazareth never exist on this earth ? was 
He not the teacher of the doctrines contained in 
the Gospels? did He not perform the miracles 
related there ? did they not crucify Him at Jeru- 
salem, as the book relates? and did He not rise 
again from the dead ? Tliese were beUeved to be 
facts in the tenth century : where did the belief 


and the religion come from? Is it all a n^^ 
edition of the ancient fable about the sun ? Let 
us march on, from the Arch of Darkness, the 
central arch of our Bridge of History, and enter 
on the arch beyond it. 

XI. What shall we call the Ninth Century i" 
Is this arch as dark as the central one ? No, thank 
God, there is a beam of blessed light on this arch. 
Let us call it the Arch of King Alfred. Alfred, 
the father of our Saxon liberty, as we call him 
The king who said, " I Vould that every English- 
mao should be as free as the air we breathe." If 
he did not say it— for some say he did not — we like 
to believe that he said it. We love this English 
freedom. We love to think how Alfred smiled on 
young freedom in its cradle, when it was born here 
. and tended by its rude but fond nurses, our old 
\ Saxon forefathers. It had rough usage, many a 
time, after Alfred's death. Sometimes one royal 
tyrant tried to stab it in the back, and sometimes 
anotlier strove to plant tlie dagger in its loins ; but 
none could give tlie fatal blow. Yet it was often 
down on one knee, and sometimes down on both ; 
and more than once it was prostrate. It must have 
had a good constitution — for it always conlrived to 
gel up, and stand well on its legs again. And, in 
its manly youth, Hampden took it by the right 
hand, and led it into the triumphant battlefield ; 
and Milton sang inspiring and exultant songs in its 


■ ; and now it has risen up to stalwart manhood 
— for there is no freedom like ours in the world. 
What ? not American freedom ? No ; not Ameri- 
can freedom. Thank God, the poor negroes are 
no longer slaves by law I But do white men really 
treat them as equals? 

"Give them time I" some of you cry out. Well, 
I am ■mlling to give white men time to lose their 
dislike to blacks — for I'm sure they'll need it But 
give me English freedom above all the freedoms in 
the world. I wish the poor French could get freedom 
and keep it. But although their statesmen utter so 
many high-sounding words about men's equality, 
there never arises a William Glad stone among them, 
to say, when pleading for the franchise for working 
men, "Are they not our own flesh and blood ? " 

I know the Tories sneered and jeered at those 
words ; but they were words that caused my heart 
— the heart of the old Chartist prisoner — to cleave 
to that man. They were such words as no prime 
minister had ever uttered in England before ; but 
words that proclaimed the time had come when all 
should understand what noble equahty there is in 
our Britiih freedom. 

Let us cling to it, fellow-countrymen ; let us be 
jealous over it, and proud of it ; but, above all, 
let us be thankful for it— thankful that God 
strengthened the heads of our forefathers who 
went to the stake, and the block, and the prison 


for it ; acd wrestled and struggled for it, and built 
it Kp so strongly that we do rot fear its fall. 

But what about Alfred P The happy reply is 
that he was a Christian king, and a pious sovereign. 
After that hard stciggle with the Danes, and he 
was hoping, at length, that ])eace would fill liis 
realm, the news came that another flight of " the 
ravens," as they called the Danes, was expected to 
arrive soon. "Then let us," said Alfred to his 
ministers, "have God's book translated into the 
people's own tongue, so that if these pagans land 
in greater numbers and bum all our books," — as 
they had already burned so many — "the people 
may have the book by heart. And then, if the 
Danes burn all the books they cannot bum the 
truth." And Alfred's own biographer assures us 
that the king translated half the Book of Psalms 
into Saxon with his own royal hand ; that was 
Alfred's contribution towards a translation for his 
people to read. 

My friends, you cannot help feeling with myself ] 
that as our enquiry proceeds the interest increases. 
It is important for you and tne to know for our- 
selves that our religion is true ; but our religion is 
the religion of Alfred, it is the religion of AVycklifl 
and Latimer, and Lord Bacon, and John Milton, ^ 
and Oliver Cromwell, and Sir Isaac Newton, 
the religion of these and others, the most illus- 
trious men of our English lineage. Where did it ( 


come from — we ask again, — this religion of Alfred ? 
He believed, and his Anglo-Saxon people believed, 
that Jesus of Nazareth had really existed on this, 
earth, had been baptised of John in the Jordan, 
had chosen his twelve apostles, had preached his 
great doctrines, had wrought his mighty miracles, 
had been crucified, and had risen again from the 
dead. How came Alfred and his people, and so 
many millions of the people of Europe, to be 
believing all this in the ninth century? Was not 
the human life of Jesus a fact, and is not o' 
common history of him a series of facts? Or 
the whole story of him only the old fable of the 
sun refashioned? Let us step on to the Arch of I 
the Bridge of History before the arch of Alfred, 
and see if we find Christianity there. 

XII. What shall we name the Eighth Century ? 
We can only give it one name — tlie great regal and 
imperial name of the middle ages ; we must call it 
the Arch of Charlemagne. He is often called 
llie "founder of feudalism," whether he deserves 
the name or not ; and was ruler of France and a 
large part of Germany and Italy. His mode of 
" converting " some of the rude tribes of Germany 
to Christianity was anything but a Christian mode. 
He compelled the Saxons on pain of death to 
receive baptism; and put thousands of them to 
death because they would not give up their beloved 
leader Witikind. But he must have been a man 


large mind, for he denounced die worship of 
images, which the Empress Irene cajoled Pope 
Adrian to encourage; and he, Uke Alfred, thought 
that the people ought to have the Scriptures to 
read. And having determined on the gift of a 
translation to his Prankish subjects, he sent all 
over Europe for men who were skilled in Greek . 
and Hebrew, in order to make his translation as ] 
perfect as possible. From our own land went 
Aicuin, tlie learned Anglo-Saxon, to render assist- 
tmce in this work, and he remained in France as 
one of the most valued advisers of Karl the Great 
—or Charlemagne. 

There is a little fact in chronology vrhich all of.l 
you will be able to remember. Just at onr end trf-l 
this arch of the bridge, that end of the arch whicU f 
is nearest ourselves, that is to say, on Christmas- 
day in the year of our Lord 800, this Charlemagne * 
was crowned by the Pope, and in a way that looked 
like a sudden inspiration, Emperor of the WesL 
It was a signal act in history, for it was the cause 
of another act still more signal. Charlemagne in 
return made the Pope a temporal prince, and the 
Popes have been temporal monarchs ever since. 
The Pope's temporal monarchy is indeed a very 
little one now. It is confined to that small part of 
the city of Rome which is divided from die laiger 
part by the Tiber, and which contains the Cathedral 
of St Peter, witli the Vatican Palace, and the Castle 
of St Angelo; and which was proudly named afier 


himself by one of the numerous Popes called Leo, 
" the Leonine city." 

Whether even this very small mockeiy of a 
monarchy will remain to the wearer of the triple 
crown is problematical. My friends, they say we 
should not rashly interpret the Divine judgments, 
but I think that mind must be dull indeed that does 
not perceive Divine judgments to have fallen on two 
devoted and guilty heads in our day. No sooner 
had " the man of sin, who exalted himself above all 
that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he 
as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing him- 
self that he is God ;" no sooner had the poor old , 
infatuated Pius the Ninth perfected the Papal bias- | 
phemous assumption by getting the CEcumenical i 
Council to declare him " Infallible," than down 
comes, first, his rotten supporter, amidst the awful 1 
squelch at Sedan, and nest, down comes the poor 1 
old helpless " Infallible" himself. 

God's true Church was a persecuted and suffer- 
ing Church in the eighth century. Under the name 
of Bulgarians their passage is traced from the East, 
fleeing from cruel persecutors, towards tliose val- 
leys of the Alps and borders of the Pyrenees where 
their successors in faith and suffering were known 
as Waidenses, and Albigenses, and Paterines, and ' 
Cathari, and many other names. 

Pursuing our main enquiry, we ask how came ' 
Charlemagne and the people of France audGcws.'iM^.J 


and Italy, and other parts of Europe — how cam 
Empress Irene, and the people of Constantinople 
and the adjoining regions— how came the lowly and 
persecuted people professing Christianity, to be 
believing, in the eighth century, that Jesus of Naza- 
reth had lived on this earth, taught, and wrought 
His miracles upon it, and had been crucified at 
Jerusalem, and had risen again from the dead? 
Are we to conclude that none of diese events have 
any foundation in fact, but that they are only refash- 
ionings of the old fable of the sun ? Let us march 
again over oiu" Bridge of History, and see if we find 
the Christian religion on the arch before the Arch 
of Charlemagne. In this instance the larger 1 
demands of general history direct us to find some- ] 
thing else there first 

XIIl. "What shall we call the Seventh Century? 
I say the demands of general history direct us to 
call it the Arch of Mohammed. No one doubts 
that Mohammed was a really existing human per- 
son, a native of Arabia; that, although born of a 
lofty race, he became poor, and drove Uie camels of 
a rich widow to the fairs of Sjria, where he heard 
and witnessed die quarrels of Jews, Christians, and 
Pagans ; and that this set him upon the project 
cf devising a religion which should end all their 
quarrels in unity of worship. No one doubts those J 
well-known incidents of the history of Mohammed; 
that he began, after his marriage with the rich 


widow, and emancipation from poverty, to retire to 
a cave, and profess to have visions of the Angel 
Gabriel, and to receive revelations which he embo- 
died in writing, as parts of the future Koran. That 
his first attempts at assuming the character of Pro- 
phet were unsuccessful ; and that he fled to another 
part of the country, and instead of trying lo bring 
over the Jews addressed himself to the Pagan Aiabs, 
by whom his cause was taken up with enthusiasm — 
are also historical events respecting which there is 

I need not dwell more at length on the history of 
Mohammed. I remember to have been asked 
more than once by doubters. Whether it be not as 
difficult to account for the spread and existence of 
Mohammedanism as it is to account for the spread 
and existence of Christianity? I very readily 
answer, "No." Because, while the religion of 
Christ is a religion of meekness and love and self- 
denial, the reli^on of Mahommed is most power- 
fully adapted to captivate the two great passions of 
the himian mind : the love of conquest, and the 
love of sensual enjoyment. 

At one period in history it looked as if Moham- 
medan conquest would be univereal, but the 
Almighty Hand stayed it, and now Mohammedan- 
ism is a declining religion, and a declining power in 
/lie world. But what said Mohammed of Chris- 
tianity ? Did he say it was only the old fable, ct 


the sun in a new form? Nay ; he proclaimed that 
God had sent three great prophets into the world 
before himself: Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, the 
son of Mary; that Jesus proclaimed "the Com- 
forter" should come; and that he, Mohammed, was 
the Comforter, It is not likely that there is a single 
Mohammedan in the world who doubts that Jesus 
lived on earth, and wrought miracles. 

We must not foiget the existence of the sect called 
Paulicians, in this century. Although charged with 
the old Oriental errors included in Majiichceism, it 
is clear they were Pauline Christians— Christians 
who defended the purity of their views by appealing 
to the writings of St. Paul. They were sufferers by 
persecution to such a degree that they began to 
quit Armenia, and to take refuge in Europe. They 
were the predecessors of the Bulgarians, Waldenses, 
Albigenses, Paterines, Hussites, and Lollards. Gib- 
bon clearly shows the " hne of descent"- — ^so to call 
it— of pure and persecuted Christianity ; and he was 
charged with mistake until Guizot went over all his 
authorities, and confirmed Gibbon's valuable state- 
Following my own bent for connecting our chief 
enquiry as much as possible with our dear old 
England, I would have preferred to call this seventh 
century the Arch of Venerable Bede. If you, 
young men, were to make some actual search for 
^ntiquarian proofs of the existence of the Christian 



religion, you could scarcely fail to do what I have 
done— visit Jarrow, on the hanks of the Tyne. 
There are the crumbling remains of the monastery 
in which Bede studied. In a room of die adjoining 
chiux:h they show you Bedc's chair, or what remains 
of it There is no reason to doubt that the chair 
was used by Bede, nor the tradition that he died a 
few moments after quitting it, having pronounced 
the last words of his translation of St. John's Gos- 
pel, and then having fallen on liis knees and breathed 
out his soul in prayer I 

If, afterward, you were to visit the ancient castle 
of Durham, you might see, what I have seen twice, 
a more remarkable cariosity than the chair of Bede. 
WhaE is it? say you. A large coffin, hewed out 
of the bole of an oak, and standing on foiir oak 
wheels. That was the coffin of SL Cuthbert at one 
time, and also of Bede his teacher ; for they dug up 
the body of Bede at Jarrow, and placed it beside 
the body of St. Cuthbert ; and their custom was, in 
those " dark ages," as they are jusdy called, to 
wheel that coffin about in the petty battles of the 
Heptarchy, with the belief that the sanctity of the 
persons to whom the bodies had belonged would 
bring them victory ? " Dark ages ! " Was the dark- 
ness really greater than in our age ? Men thank 
God for victory now, and do not pretend to win 
it by any sanctity whatever, either of their own or 
other people's. 


Again, I say, if you, young Englishmen, were dis- 
posed to make actual search for antiquarian proofs 
of the existence of Christianity in your own land, 
you might visit Whitby, on the east coast of York- 
shire, and see the grand ruins of the abbey on that 
lofty rock, near the German Ocean, and call to 
mind that ihey stand near the spot where the first 
religious house in those parts was built by the Lady 
Hilda, tiie Saxon princess, whose name is so famiUar 
for her piety, prayer, and almsgiving, to even the 
poorest along the neighbouring shores of Durham 
and Yorkshire, to this day. 

Lastly, if you were to travel north, as if you meant 
to reach Scotland, keeping still by the German 
Ocean long before you come to Benvick-on-Tweed 
you would see in the sea a considerable islet, " The 
Holy Isle," or Lindisfarne, as it is also called. On 
that Isle you would see the ruins of the monastery 
m which Cuthbert studied. 

Now, what I want to impress on your minds is, 
not the notion that there is any sanctity or spiritual 
value in the objects you would see. I am not a 
teacher of Popery, you know. But what I want to 
impress upon your minds is this thoughtful conclu- 
sion : a man lookbg upon that chair of Venerable 
Bede might as well deny that he sees a chair at all; 
a man looking upon that grotesque coffin of Cuth- 
bert, on its wheels, might as well deny that there 
either coffin or wheels before his eyes ; a man 



gazing upon tliose striking ruins on tlie rock of 
Whitby might as ivell deny that there are any 
Abbey ruins there at all ; and a maa looking on 
the " Holy Isle " off the coast of Northumber- 
land might as well deny that he sees it, or that it 
exists— as for a roan to deny that Bede and Cuth- 
bert and Hilda existed, and tliat they believed in 
Jesus Christ's existence and miracles, and death 
and resurrection, and taught that these were facts, 
in the seventh century, on English soil. 

The lives of Bede and Cuthbert and Hilda are a 
part of the history and existence of the soil. One 
might as well doubt that the soil itself existed as 
that the actors existed whose existence is so indu- 
bitably attested. The body of Cuthbert, in its 
leaden coffin, was dug up and reintcrrcd but a fen- 
years ago ; the mind of Bede exists, in the Church 
History and other works of his that remain ; and 
the spirit of Hilda exists in the remembrance of 
her goodness. 

Where, again, I ask, did the Christian religion 
come from ? How came Bede and Cuthbert and 
Hilda, and thousands besides in our own land, and 
how came millions in odier lands, to be believing, 
in the seventh century, that Jesus of Nazareth lived 
on this earth, chose his twelve apostles, taught his 
great doctrines, performed his miracles, was cruci- 
fied, and rose again from the dead ? Are none of 
these facts ? Are they no more than so many itewa 


in the new fable fashioned upon the old fable of 
the Sim ? Let us once more pursue our forward, 
or rather backward, inarch, and see if we find the 
Christian religion in existence upon that Arch of 
our Bridge of History which stands before the 
Akch of Mohammed, or, as we would prefer to 
term it, the Arch of Venerable Bede. 

XIV. What shall we call the Sixth Century? 
We will call it the Arch of Augustine and the 
Cbristianisation of England ; for we will not be 
drawn into the current of general history this time, 
but pursue our inquiry as closely as possible (rith 
historic materials on English land. 1 need utter 
but few words to remind you how the first Pope 
Gregory^for there have been many of them — be- 
fore he was Pope, saw the beautiful children of the 
Angles ofiered for slaves in the market at Rome, 
and thought they should be called Angels ; and 
how he strove to go to England himself as a 
Christian missionary, but was peremptorily recalled 
by the Pope of that time; and how the good man 
(for the first Pope Gregory was a good man, a 
good Christian man, who disclaimed universal lord- 
ship over the Church, arid never dreamt of being 
" infallible ") — how the good man, when he became 
Pope, sent out Augustine, with twenty monks and 
twenty priests, as missionaries to the Anglo-Saxons 
how Augustine and his companions landed 
Thanet, and sent their message to Ethelbert, the^ 



King of Kent ; and how Ethelbert agreed to listen 
to the preaching of Augustine. 

Fancy the picture, as Venerable Bede presents it 
in his history : The King, sitting under an oak, on 
a plain, surrounded with his chiefs, and the pro- 
cession approaching ! First, one bearing aloft a 
silver cross ; then another with a picture of the 
Crucifixion on wood; then Augustine, at the head 
of his monks, taller by the shoulders than any of 
the rest of his company ; and then the monks and 
priests channting. Augustine preaches, another in- 
terprets, while the King listens. He calls it "All 
very good" at the end, but intimates that he cannot 
change his religion all at once. He did change his 
religion, however j but I much doubt whether the 
preaching of Augustine caused the change. I 
rather think it was the sweeter preaching he had at 
home from the lips of Bertha, his young queen. 
She was the daughter of Charibert, the King, or 
Duke, of Paris— for there was no kingdom of France 
then, such as we understand by the name now — 
and she was a Christian. 

More missionaries were sent over by the good 
Gregory — I would rather that he was called Gre- 
gory the Good than "Gregory the Great," the name 
he wears in history ; and the men of Kent were im- 
mersed in baptism, like their King ; and the Chris- 
tian missionaries, in the lapse of years, visited all 
Angle-land, and our forefathers were bai^tu.e.4. \a. 


tlie streams, or at the font, and gradually adopted 
the profession of Christianity. And our Anglo- 
Saxon ancestors ceased to worship the sun on Sun- 
day, and the moon on Monday, and Tuisco on 
Tuesday, and Woden on Wednesday, and Thor — 
with the mighty hammer, the god of thunder — on 
Thursday, and Freya, the wife of Woden, on Fri- 
day, and Seater on Saturday; and began to worehip 

We preserve the old idols' names in our days of 
the week. How incongruous it is, when we think 
nponij ! And yet people jeer the good Quakers 
when they say First Day, Second Day, and so oDj 
instead. The Quaker custom is more rational than ] 
ours, nevertheless, if we really be Chrisdans. Per- 
baps we could not change the names if we were to 
try ; it is so very difficult to change either old cus- 
toms or old names. There is one thing we can do, 
however, whenever we use the old idols' names to 
distinguish the days of the week. We can let it 
serve to remind us of the rock from whence we 
were hewn, and the pit from whence we were 
digged. We can let it serve to remind us that our 
old forefathers were rude heathens ; but God sent 
them the good news of Christ, and gave them grace 
to receive the good news, and has preserved His . 
lioly religion among us to the present day. 

But, again I ask, where did Christianity c 
from? How came Gregory the Good to be caring I 


about heathen peoples getting a knowledge of it, 
and to be zealously sending out missiotiaries to 
spread it, in the sixth century? The mind of 
Gregory remains in such of his writings as we have, 
and we cannot doubt that he believed in the veri- 
table existence of Jesus, and in the Gospel history. 
How came Gregory and Augustine, and millions of 
people, to be believing, in the sixth century, that 
Jesus of Nazareth really lived on earth, taught His 
doctrine of love and forgiveness of injuries, and 
purity and self-denial, perlbrmed His miracles, was 
crucified, and rose again from the dead? Were 
none of these facts ? Is what we call the History 
of our Saviour Jesus Christ only a refashioning of 
the old fable about the sun? Let ua again step 
on, in our journey over this Bridge of History, and 
see if we find a belief in Christianity held by the 
people who dwell on the arch preceding the Arch 
of Augustine and the Christianisation of England. 

XV. Wliat shall we call the Fifth Century? 
As I called the tenth century the Arch of Dark- 
ness, I would call the Fifth Century the Arch of 
Earthquake; for, of all the centuries that have 
elapsed since the Christian Era commenced, it was 
the most signal for invasion, revolution, tribulation, 
and change. Alaric the Goth scowls upon us at 
the beginning of the century, but, at the end of its 
first decade, has his strange burial in the bed of a 
river, so that where he lies is not known to this 



day. Then the more dreadful Attila the Hun 
glares upon us, and he lights the great battle of 
Chalons-sur-Mame — the very Chalons on whose 
vast camp the retreat of the French army was an- 
nounced just before that contemptible snuff-out of 
Napoleon the Little at Sedan I To Attila unnum- 
bered hosts of Goths and Visigoths and Franks 
and Saxons and Biirgundians were opposed at 
Chalons, in the year 451, and they beat him. But 
he rushed down upon Italy and spoiled its fair 
cities. Next he meant to sack Rome, had not the 
aged bishop, St, Leo, persuaded him to acccept large 
treasure and depart; but, soon after, the " Eternal 
City," as we call it, was given up to fourteen days' 
ruinous plunder by Genseric and his Vandals. 

The Western Empire is, at length, broken up, in 
476; and the formation of what we call Modem 
Europe begins. Spain becomes a kingdom under 
the Visigoths; part of France owns Clovis for 
king ; Odoacer and Theodoric are kings of Italy ; 
our Saxon Heptarchy is founded ; and the Nor- 
mans enter France. 

Christianity itself, in this century, seems as much 
subject to revolution as the political world. Arian- 
ism is at war with orthodoxy, and often, for a time, 
tramples it down. Persecution and mutual perse- 
cution were rife; the rival sects revelled in slaugh- 
ter, as they happened to be uppermost. The wax 
of words was as prevalent as bodily combat; for it 



59 I 

was the age of Augustine and Pelagi 
Jerome and Cyril and Chr)-sostom. Still it is 
evident, from even the stormy literature of the 
time, that "pm-e and acdefiled" Christianity was 
not exdnct 

Where did Christianity come from ? we ask 
again. How came Augustine and Pelagius to be 
debating about the doctrines Christ taught if He 
never taught any ? How came Jerome and Cyril 
to be contending for what they believed to be 
the truths that Christ taught if Christ never lived? 
Were the eloquent sermons of John, the "golden 
mouthed," or Chrysostom, founded on texts which 
Christ never spoke ? How came millions of men, 
amidst all the contention and violence and sweep- 
ing change of that fifth century to be holding fast 
to these facts ; that Jesus of Nazareth had lived on 
this earth, chosen His apostles, and preached His 
doctrines and performed His miracles, and been 
crucified, and had risen again from the dead ? 
How came all this strong belief into men's minds 
in that fifth century P Was it all misplaced ? 
Did Jesus never live, preach, die, and live again 
on this earth ? Is what we call the Gospel History 
all founded on an old fable about the sun ? Let 
us again proceed on our march over this Bridge 
of History. Shall we find Cliristianity in exist- 
ence on the arch before that which we have just 
called the Arch of Earthquake ? 





XVI. IVhat shall we call the Fourth Century ? 
We can only call it by one name, unfortunately^ 
the Arch of Constantine the Great. A man 
might as well doubt the esastence of Constantinople 
as doubt the iacts of the history of Constantine. 
Yonder is the city still bearing his name : the city 
into which he admitted temple or church for no 
worship but Christian worship. A man might as 
well doubt the existence of the arch of Constantine 
at Rome as doubt that the Emperor lived and 
reigned, in whose honour it was erected and whose 
name it bears. A man might as well doubt the 
existence of the coins of Constantine as to doubt 
the facts of his history. 

Young men who hear me, if you know of any 
one who has a good collection of coins, ask for 

: coins of Constantine, and mark thera well 
There axe thousands of his bronze coins in exist- 
ence; but it will be better to see the gold and 
silver coins, which are not so numerous. You will 
find that the earher coins of Constantine have the 
pagan marks upon them, like the coins of the 
Csesais ; but, when you come to the later coias of 
Constantine, there is the Christian cross — there is 
the labarum, or standard, which was borne by Con- 
Stan tine's armies, with the cross and also the 
monogram of the wonl " Christ " upon it. 

"1 suppose this Constantine, the first Roman 
emperor who openly patronized Christianity, wa. 

id man," says some one of my audience. 


I fear I must tel! you, very plainly, you are under j 
a mistake, my friend. I must tell you that, 
although Constanline was a clever man, a skilful I 
general, and a sagacious statesman, he was a 
man — for he murdered his wife, his eldest son, and 
his nephew ; and it seems that he would unhesi- 
tatingly have taken the heart's blood of mai 
woman who dared to oppose his will. 

"Then how came this bad man to patronize 1 
Christianity?" you ask. The answer is, For poli- 
tical purposes, — "reasons of state," as we say. 

" But could the number of professing Christiai»,J 
be so great at that time as to form a body of s 
cient importance to attract the notice of Constan- " 
tine, and lead him to suppose he could strengthen 
himself by patronizing them ? " it may next 

Let us enquire of history. We will not take I 
the enumeration from church historians. Their 
account might be questioned, or be suspected of ex- 
aggeration. We will take the account from the ene- 
my's side, rather. Let us take it from the sceptical 
Gibbon, from his splendid " Decline and Fall," 
He was an acute and tasteful scholar, and a master 1 
of statistical investigation, and he assures ua that 1 
at the time when Constantme first extended his | 
" protecting " and patromzuig hand towards Chris- i 
tianity — that is to say, in the jerr 313 — the popula- 
tion of the entire Roman empue was lao mdlions, 


and that the Christ *an population was about a 
twentieth part of the whole ; that is to say, there 
were six millions of professing Christians in the 
world in the year 313. 

" And how came Constanline to think of patron- 
izing these six milUons of people?" it will be 
asked. Let us look at his circumstances, and we 
shall soon be able to read his morives. 

Constantine became emperor at York, the Ro- 
man capital of England, on the death of his father, 
Constantius Chlorus, who was one of four niling 
emperors. For Diocletian had invented a new 
form of government : a government by /eur em- 
perors, who should divide the kingdom among 
them, but act unitedly. To Constantius Chlorus, 
Britain and Gaul were assigned, as the fourth part 
of the empire, to be ruled by him. At his death, 
the Roman soldiers hailed his son Constanline as 
his successor. But Constantine knew diat none of 
the odier emperors liked him. Yet he was deter- 
mined to hold imperial power. So he set out from 
Britain, taking with him as many soldiers as could 
be spared from the country, and marched through 
Gaul also, soon learning that he would have to 
fight for it as he approached Italy. 

He won a victory over the Emperor Maxentius; 
and some of the Christian historians would have us 
believe he adopted Chrislianity because he saw the 
sign of the cross in the air, and considered it the 


symbol and promise of victory. But the true rea- 
sons why he began to patronize Christianity were 
more worldly. He needed military strength. The 
forces he had were not sufficient to cope with the 
laiger armies of the other emperors. Now, he re- 
flected on the conduct of the few Christian soldiers 
which were in his army. They were sober, honest, 
brave, intrepid; and he wished he could have more 
such moral material to work up into soldiers. 
Then, again, he learned, all the way he came 
through Gaul, that, in spite of the cruellest per- 
secution, the Christians were increasing. He dis- 
cerned that the support of such people politically, 
and the union of their sons with his army, were 
very desirable things to bring about 

The decree at Milan, in the year 313, proclaim- 
ing full toleration for Christians, was his statesman- 
like manoeuvre, and it succeeded. He persuaded 
Licinius, one of the emperors, who had married 
his daughter, to join him in this decree — though 
Licinius was not in earnest in his support of it. 
Diocletian retired from actual sovereignty, and 
Constantine was soon at war with the remaining 
emperor, Maximian. The suicide of Maximian left 
Constantine and Licinius masters of the empire. 
But a deadly war soon arose between them ; Licinius 
was killed ; and Constantine became sole sove- 
reign of the Roman empire, and master of the 
destinies of 120 millions of people. 


64 ST/ 

He now more openly and avowedly supported 
Christianity ; but although he held the imperial 
power twenty-four years after he issued that first 
decree of toleration, he was not a baptized Chris- 
tian till a few days before his death. Yet, as he 
was believed to be on the Christiao side, even 
when he seemed to waver — and that was often — 
thousands who cared nothing about religion in 
their hearts, affected to espouse it, because it was 
the strongest side, so tbat there soon grew to be 
more milhons of professors — I did not say fiossfsson 
— of Christ's religion. Constantine's wily patronage 
of the Christian teachers also did much to 
strengthen his power, while it teiKled to ruin the 
tSiristitm church spiritually. And the more decided 
he became in uniting the religion with the state, 
the more he injured it 

It was, indeed, an evil day for Christianity when 
the crafty Constantine took it under his protection. 
Would that it had ever remained under tiie protec- 
tion of God alone, whatever its professors might 
have suffered ! Ch rist said to the Roman govern or, 
;n crucifixion was so near,~"]^^kingdom is" not 
His^orid?' OtEatTiis professed follo wers liad 
always kept the solemn saying in mi ndl The 
Cliurch and the State are unnatural companions. 
Tie Religion to the State chariot, and it becomes 
defiled by being dragged through the mire of expe- 
diency : make Religion co-rider with the State, 



the chariot, and she loses the spirit of the Cross, 
amidst the smiles of adulation and the corruptions 
of human power and grandeur. The change in the 
outward fortunes of Christianity, under Coostantine 
and his successors, seemed to render the solemn 
declaration of Christ a mockery. Under succes- 
sive emperors it grew grand, and when they en- 
couraged the swelling pomp it grew grander still. 
At length, under the Popes, as we have seen in our 
journey over this Bridge of History, it became 
at once gorgeous and cruelly intolerant and mur- 

We are living at a time when nearly every circle 
of society in England is intent on the great question 
of the Union of Church and State. I must declare 
myself a separatist It is not that I see nothing to 
love and nothing to admire in what we call our Es- 
tablished Church of England. I know and love 
some of her pious ministers ; 1 honour her noble 
army of martyrs ; I look with wonder and reverence 
at her grand library of authors ; I love many of 
her printed prayers ; and I trust, when 1 die, her 
sublime burial-service will be read at my humble 
funeral; but I neither admire the wisdom nor 
honesty of her ritualistic sons ; nor do I adnriire 
the swelling style nor titles of her chief officers, 
nor their political emplo}Tnent I never think of 
the speeches and votes of the Bishops in the House 
of Lords, but I call to mind the saying of a.R dViL 

"" ^yi. 


Lincolnshire farmer, Philip Skipworth, one of the 
most Radical tenants of the first Earl of Yarborough. 
"Woe worth your lord bishops \" he used to ex- 
claim ; " I wish they would come out of the House 
of Lords, and be oftener in the Lord's House ! " 
^ And as for the styles and titles of the " spiritual 
3 thev are called, where is the Scripture 
'warrant for it all ? That Popes, all along, have 
had the impudence to wear tlie highest style and 
title on tlieir coins of the pagan priests of old 
Rome and call themselves Pontifcx Maximus, one 
does not wonder ; but where is the New Testament 
warrant for describing an English Protestant Bis- 
hop as "The Right Reverend Father in God, 
Samuel, by Divine permission. Lord Bishop of 
^Vinchester," etc., etc. ? Pray, in what chapter or 
verse of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, do you 
read of "The Right Reverend Father in God, 
Peter the Fisherman, by Divine permission. Lord 
Bishop of Rome, Primate of all Italy," etc ? In 
what chapter and verse of Matthew, Mark, Luke, 
or John, do you read of "The Most Reverend 
Father in God, Paul the Tentmaker, by Divine 
permission, Lord Archbishop of Tarsus, Primate 
and Metropohtan of all Judea," etc., etc.? In 
what chapter or verse of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or 
John, do you read of " The Very Reverend Father 
in God, Matthew the Publican, Dean of Jenisalem, 
Canon of Jericho, and Rector of Cesarea Philippi?" 


My friends, in this our journey so far we have 
never found real Christianity robed in worldly 
grandeur ; but we have often found it lowly and 
persecuted and suffering, and thus resembling its 
Divine Founder. 

But let us keep our chief enquiry in mind. In 
the year 313, when Constantine began to patronise 
Christianity, it was not then three hundred years 
old, according to the Christian belief — which was, 
that its Founder did not leave the earth till the 
year 33. Now the time of Constantine was a time 
of considerable civilization j and it could not be 
much more difficult for the Romans to ascertain 
the truth of what was stated to have occurred in 
Palestine in the year 33, that is to say, but two 
hun<bed and eighty years before, than it would be 
for us to ascertain what occurred in France or 
Spain two hundred and eighty years ago : that is 
to say, in the reign of our Elizabeth, when the in- 
tercourse of Englishmen with those countries was 
so great We have no difficulty in grappling the 
perfect reality of that period of history ; and why 
should it have been less possible for Romans to 
realize die verity of the Gospel History but two 
hundred and eighty years after the crucifixion ? 

But we are bound to repeat our question, Where 
did Christianity come from? How came six 
millions of people to be professing it in the year 
313? How came those books of Christian au.tK<«% 


VboH, xnd Cregoij Mariamgn, md Ambrose — that 
have axac down to a^ to be wiittea m the Ibonb 
ccntmy ? Hov ofiai «c mi^t have a^ed a smi- 
br qaestioo icspecUng scares of wnteis, while 
sQudiDg oa the preceding arches of our Bri(%e, 
if the time wonld have permitted as 1 But were 
Eusebius, aad Laciaadas, and Ambrose, and the 
rest, dreamers ? Did Jesus of Nazareth, never 
really live on this earth — never teach his doctrines 
—never peiform his miracles — never die by cruci- 
fixion — never rise from the dead ? Was the mind 
of the subtle Constantine under complete delusion 
when he presided over three hundred Christian 
bishops at the Council of Nice, in 325, and when 
he was baptized as a Christian in 337? Is the 
religion we call Christianity simply 3 readaptation 
to human credulity of the old fable of the sun ? 
Let us again pursue our journey over the Bridge 
of History, and see if we discover the existence 
of Christ's religion on the arch before the Aich of j 

XVII. What shall we call the Third Century? 
We must call it the Arch of Persecution. Be- 
fore Diocletian gave up power, and retired to culti- 
vate cabbages at Saloiia, he exercised his mind in 
the more pernicious task of ordering a search to be 
made for all Chrislian books, that they might be 
publitly burnt. If the books were given up by 


professing Christians— for none else liad them— at 
the imperial demand, the persons who gave them 
up were put out of its pale by the Christian Church 
of that tirae. 

1 want you to let that fact sink into your mind^ 
and I want you to keep it there, for we shall have 
to remember it when we come to the keener points 
of our enquiry. To be more willing to part with 
life itself tlian with the Gospels or Episdea was 
held to be the mark of an earnest Christian in 
those days. The books were found, in numerous 
instances, by the emperor's searchers ; and those 
who withheld them were punished. 

Diocletian did greater evil still. He commanded 
Christian places of worship to be closed ortom down; 
and then the professors of tjie forbidden religion 
had to worship in caves and desolate places, or by 
the sea-side, and often in darkness. And then 
their enemies invented the malicious report that 
they met together for vicious purposes. Just like 
the devil, you know ! when he thrusts a good man 
into a dark, dirty comer, he cries out, " That fellow 
has gone there for concealment in his vicious in- 
dulgence ! " But the busy instrument of Satan, 
Diocletian, went further : he proceeded to take 
human life. Eusebius collects the accounts of 
contemporary ivriters, and presents us with their 
catalogues of the martyrdoms in Egypt, in Palestine, 
in Syria, and Arabia, but more especially la tiifc 



great cities of Alexandria, and Antioch, and Nico- 
media, and CfEsarea. Some of those accounts are 
very affecting ; and often the Christian martyrs 
met death with a heroism that appalled their per- 
secutors. Maximian and Galerius, whom Diocletian 
associated with himself in the government, were as 
cruel as their patron. 

Before Diocletian and his associates in imperial 
rule we have Aurelian, Valerian, Gallus, Decius, 
Maximin, and Severus, who were all persecutors of 
Christianity. They did not persecute at all times, 
nor in every place ; but after a little lull of the 
tempest it would break forth again, and not only . 
aged men, but feeble women, were swept away in 
Indeed, the relation of the persecution 
: by the Christian Church in tlie third 
i often too painful to read. Tender 
women, in soine instances, were tortured several 
(lays, and put to death by slow degrees, for the 
purpose of wringing from them a denial of Christ; 
some, in their human weakness, were affrighted by 
the threats of punishment and those cruel sights 
which they witnessed, and shrank from martyrdom, 
by apostasy; but hundreds triumphed and exulted 
in death, and to the last attested their faith in 

I ask once more. Where did Christianity come 
from ? Was there nothing in it worth suffering for ? 
Did Jesus of Na/areth never e.tist ? Was he not 

its fury, 
century . 

alive, teaching in Jerusalem, in Galilee, in Samaria, 
and performing his miracles, but 220 years before 
many of these martyrs suffered? Was he never 
crucified at Jerusalem? Did he never rise from 
the dead? Were all these martyrs suffering for 
their belief in a new fable about the sun ; and 
because the believers in the old fable hated them 
for refashioning the fable ? Let us again journey 
along our Bridge of History, and see if we find at 
last the solution to our oft-repeated question. 

XVIIl. and XIX. We have now but two cen- 
turies remaining : the second and the first What 
shall we call these remaining arches of our Bri 
of History ? I propose that we call the Second 
Century the Arch of the Fathers, and the First 
Century the Arch of the Apostles. 

I propose now that we take our steps more 
slowly, and very circumspectly. If we miss the 
object of our search through haste, our journey" 
will have been spent in vain, and our time thrown 
away. "The Arch of the Fathers — pray, who 
re&lly were the Fathers of the Church, as they are 
called?" some of you will ask. The reply is that 
they were the believing writers on the facts of the 
Christian history, and the teachers of its doctrines, 
from the time of the last of the Apostles to about 
the seventh century. Some called Theophylact, who 
lived in the tenth century, the last of the Fathers ; 
but after the time of the first Po'ge, Orte^iaT^-,, 


— Gr^ory the Good, as I have called him — ^)-ou may 
consider the catalogue closed. Aiid of these, the 
FaLhers who lived and wrote in the second and third 
centnriirs are the most important to our enquiry. 

You will see how important the memory of the 
Fathers is to us when I rehearse to you the sub- 
stance of a note on one of the pages of a biography 
that yon yonng Christian men should read- — ^the 
Lives of the Haldanes. The brothers Haldane 
were wealthy Scottish gentlemen, at the beginning 
of the present century, who became evangelically 
pious, and performed great and good service in 
the Christian world. The note I refer to in that 
book relates how Dr. Buchanan was dining with a 
literary party at the house of the father of Sir Ralph 
Abercrombie, the general who died in Egypt, when 
a gentleman in the company put this question to 
them : " If every copy of the New Testament had 
been destroyed at the end of the Third Century," 
— for it was then, you will remember, when Dio- 
cletian was engaged in his nefarious attempt to 
extinguish the book — " whether it could have been 
recovered again from the extracts made from it in 
the works of the Fathers of the Second and Third 
Centuries?" The question startled the company; 
but none could answer it. Two months afterwards, 
Dr. Buchanan says he called on Sir David Dal- I 
ryraple, or "Lord Hales," as he was called, the ] 
Scotch judge; and he pointed to a table covered 1 


73 I 

with books and papers, and said, " Look at these I 
You remember the strange question about the 
Fathers and the New Testament which was put by 
one of the company at Mr. Abercrombie's, two i 
months agoP" Dr. Buchanan said he remembered 
it well. "That question roused my curiosity," said 
Sir David Dahymple, "and as I knew I possessed 
all the extant Fathers of the second and third 
centuries, I commenced the search, and, up to this 
present time, I have found the entire New Tcsta.- 
ment all but clevcti verses J" 

Now, do you see the immense importance to us, 
in our enquiry, of a fact hke that ; that in the extant 
iviitings of the Fathers of the Second and Third 
Centuries the entire New Testament, except eleven 
verses, can be found in the form of quotations ? 
Kemember that we have lost many of the works of 
the Fathers of those centuries, and think the more 
of this important fact What does it lead us to 
conclude ? That tlie Christians of those centuries 
valued the New Testament very highly. Our 
Chillingworth says "the Bible is the religion of 
Protestants j " but the New Testament was the 
religion of the early Christian Church. They must 
have fed upon it as their daily and hourly spiritual 
food ; they must have quoted it in tlieir prayers 
and conversations, as well as in their letters, and 
sermons, and homilies, and commentaries ; it must 
have been very precious to them. 


Three of the most eminent of the Fathers were 
living within the last quarter of the second century 
— which will take us back to the year 175 — a year 
that I want specially to fix in your memories. The 
Fathers I mean are Tertullian, Ireaseus, and ' 
Clement of Alexandria. 

Tertullian ascribes the Four Gospels to Matthew, 
Mark, Luke, and John. In his extant works he 
makes 2,500 references to the New Testament 
700 of these are references to the Gospels, an( 
of these again are to John's Gospel He quotes , 
from every c/iapter of Matthew, l,uke, and John. 

Irenjeus also attributes the Four Gospels to i 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In his extant J 
works he makes 1,200 references to the New| 
Testament ; 400 of these are references to the 
Gospels, and 80 of these again are to John's 

Clement of Alexandria also calls the Four Gos- 
pels by the names of Matthew, Luke, Mark, and 
John — for thai is the order in which he places the 
Evangelists. He makes 320 references to tlie New 
Testament in his extant works, which are few com- 
pared with those of Tertullian, 

I said, just now, that I wished to impress the 
memory of the year 175 on your minds, and I 
want now to begin to show you the reason of it 
Hitherto we have been keeping in view but one of 
the theories devised by sceptical writers £0 account 


for the existence of the Christian religion, while 
denying its truth ; the " Sun Tlieoiy " : that theory 
of Sir William Drummond, and Godfrey Higgins, 
and Dupuis, aad Volney, which Was popularised in 
London over forty years ago by tlie " Reverend " 
Robert Taylor, or, as Henry Hunt styled him, 
" the Devil's Chaplain." Let us now look at the 
more modem theory, which has destroyed the popu- 
larity of the Sun Theory with many of the sceptics 
of OUT own time: the "Mythical Theory" of 
Strauss and Renan ; for although there is a great 
difference in the spirit and manner of the German 
and French theorists, I think we may well consider 
them together. 

In the year 1834 a book was published at 
Tubingen, by Dr. David Friedrich Strauss, a young 
professor in the University of that town, and, of . 
course, a professor of the Lutheran faith. His 
book is usually known by a part of its German 
tide : " Leben Jesu," or Life of Jesus ; but its com- 
plete title, " Das Leben Jesu bearbeitet," means, — 
" The Life of Jesus critically worked at : " an odd 
title to give to a book. Only a very few years 
ago, you know, the other " Life of Jesus "—the 
" Vie de Jesus " of M. Renan, Professor of Oriental 
History in the great French Academy — was issued. 
The theories of these writers — but chiefly, the 
" Leben Jesu " of Strauss— may be truthfully said 
to have fascinated thousands of minds, and to ba.^e. 


led away troops of young earnest students and 
thinkers on tlie continent, while they have also 
been detrimental to the faith of many in our own 

And what is maintained by the teachers of this 
"Mythical Theory"? Do they say that no such 
pcfsoo as Jesus of Nazareth ever existed? Oh 
no I They could not commit themselves to such 
rashness J for they are scholars in a high sense 
of the word. Renan is understood to be a pro- 
found Oriental scholar ; and the classical attain- 
ments of Strauss are understood to be as great as 
his power of analysis. I need scarcely say that 
men of such intellectual calibre and acquirements 
know that they have no right to take up any 
ancient volume which professes to be history, and 
cross out any personal name in it that does not 
suit them, affirming that no such person ever 
existed. They know they might just as well and 
wisely affirm that Julius Ciesar never existed, or 
tliat Alexander the Great never existed, as that 
there never was such a human person as Jesus of 
Nazareth in the world. 

No ; they agree that such a person existed, at 
the time when, and in the coimtiy where, He is 
related, in the Gospels, to have existed. They 
agree that He was bom of poor parents ; but thai 
He had naturally a large mind and a richly phi- 
lantliropic Jieart : that He had a highly religious 




mind, and had a strong beiief in the ancient pro- 
phecy that the Messiah— the Great Dehverer — - i 
should come and regenerate the world and deliYer 
it from error and evil : that He yearned over the 
sufferings of the poor, Himself; and believed that 
His " Heavenly Father " would deliver the world 
firom the wrong He saw in it and deplored. And 
they agree that He doated on this conception, and 
earnestly Went forth proclaiming " The Kingdom 
of Heaven — the Kingdom of God is at hand ! " — 
and that, at length, He doated on this conception 
so deeply, and longed so fervently for its reali- 
zation, that He came to believe Himself to be this 
Messiah ! 

It was, simply, an instance of that common pro- 
cedure of the human mind wherein " the wish is 
father to the thought" — wherein we bum with 
desire to see a fact accomplished, until we per- 
suade ourselves it is accomplished in ourselves ! 
Jesus, it is affirmed, did not arrive at this belief 
respecting Himself all at once ; but by degrees. 
During the course of His ministry, when He began 
to be regarded as a prophet, and, therefore, as 
possessed of miraculous powers, persons afflicted 
with various diseases were brought to Him that 
He might exercise His curative skill upon them, 
Strauss and Reoan alike deny that any miracles 
were ever performed by Christ. There arr no 
miracies^there can bi no miracles, they affimi. It 


is " unscientific " to believe in miracles. God 
governs by fixed laws. That is to say, He has 
fixed Himself : He can or will neither suspend nor 
transcend His own laws. He is like a great me- 
chanist who has formed the universe as a splendid 
machine, and has wound it up, and left it to go by 
itself. He cannot or will not interfere with itt 
The " Laws of Nature " ai^^xed laws. 

Perhaps some seeming cures were performed 
by Jesus of Nazareth, thinks Strauss ; some seem- 
ing cures of comparatively slight disorders. The 
effect, perhaps, of what we now call mesmerism, 
or animal magnetism. In some instances, perhaps, 
these seeming cures were simply the effect of 
nervous sympathy on the part of the patient with 
this Jesus, who was so loudly reported to be a great 
healer of disease, by a touch, or by a word, or a 
look. The persons so considered to be cured 
passed into obscurity, and nothing more was 
known of them. But as mankind are namrally 
disposed to make a thing that is a litde marvellous 
still more marvellous by talking about it — like the 
story of the Three B'ack Crows — so these seemiDg 
cures were magnified into real miracles. 

Eventually this remarkable person was put to 
death. Well, reasons Strauss, there is nothing 
wonderful about that Socrates was put to death. 
The truly great and good have been put to death 
in all ages. There is no wonder that when a man 


rises up to beard wickedness in high places, he 
loses his life. If Jesus of Nazareth would per- 
severe in reprehending the hypocritical and power- 
ful Pharisees in the way that He did, there can be 
no wonder that they never rested till they had His 
heart's blood. 

And what about Christ's resurrection from the 
dead ? Oh, that is utterly incredible, according to 
Strauss and Renan. Christ never rose from the 
dead, any more than we shall rise from the dead. 
The fable of the resurrection arose from the 
simple credulity of a few weak women and igno- 
rant men who were fondly attached to this Jesus of 
Nazareth. They loved their Master, for He had 
shown them great love and tenderness. They 
longed to see Him again ; and, perhaps, in some 
moments of self-exultant thought He had uttered 
those words attributed to Him, " Destroy this 
temple, and in three days I will raise it again ! " 
— speaking of His own body j and so they were 
encouraged to expect His resurrection. First, one 
enthusiastic woman imagined she had seen Him 
again alive, and heard Him speak. Her story 
wrought on the imagination of others, till they, 
as fully as herself, believed they had also seen 
Him. And thus the women from Galilee and the 
disciples persuaded one another till they grew into 
a fervid band of Resurrection-Preachers, and per- 
suaded thousands to believe in the Resurrection as 


firmly as themselves. Nay, they continued to be- I 
Heve and continued to preach, until many of them 
laid down their lives in attestation of their belief 
in what they aflirmed — that they had seen their 1 
Master after He rose again from the dead. 

" And is this," say you, " really the wonderful ' 
Mytliical Theory of Strauss ? " It is, indeed ; as 
wild as it seems for a man of such famed logical 
power to have invented it. Summed up, it means 
this : tliat the reason why upwards of 300 millions 
of human beings are now numbered among the 
professors of Christianity, the reason why the 
highest and wisest nations of the earth now profess 
this religion, and why millions upon millions have 
professed it in past centuries, is solely because a 
weak fanatical woman first imagined she saw Jesus 
in the garden where his sepulchre was, and that he I 
spoke to her, yet she never saw him, and he never J 
spoke lo her at all ; and because the other women, 
htr companions, set on by her example, also took 
to imagining that they met Christ, and he spoke to 
them, yet they never met him, and he never 
spoke to tliem at all ; and because ten men, in a. 
room with the doors shut, all took to dreaming at 
the same time, with their eyes wide open, that the 
same Jesus whom they knew, and who had been 
crucified and buried, stood alive before diem, and 
spake, and showed them the wounds in his hands 
and side ; and because, a week after, eleven men 


took to dreaming Ie a similar way, and so on. 
wild way of forming a theory, my friends, when 
you remember what the Apostles suffered for their 
belief in Christ, and preaching of Christ as the 
risen Saviour ! Vet that is the meaning of the 
famed "Mythical Theory" of Strauss. 

The " Mythical Theory," it may be observed, re- 
ceives a few additions. When the " Messianic 
conception," as Strauss calls it {and it is a favourite 
phrase of his), had fully taken possession of Christ's 
disciples and their converts, they went on to ima- 
gine and set down to feis account many and mar- 
vellous deeds he had never dreamt of performing. 
They reasoned, for instance, since he was really 
the Messiah, that he must have fulfilled his types. ■ 
Well, Moses and Elijali were types of Christ, and 
they were related to have each fasted forty days 
and forty nights. So they set it down that Christ 
did the like, not from the spirit of falsehood, but 
from devout faith in the true Messialishlp of Jesus. 
He must have fulfilled his types ! Thus the cata- 
logue of miracles grew, until it swelled to the size 
it now wears in our Gospels ! 

I want you now, if you please, to note well and 
fasten in your minds one remarkable fact as con- 
nected with the date a.d. i 75, which I have already 
mentioned. It is this : that Strauss himself gmnts 
what every real scholar in the world grants, whether 
sceptical or Christian, — what Lord Bolingbroke, 


among our old English freethinkers, grants,- 
you may see in his " I-ctters on the Study of 
tory," — that the Four Gospels of Matthew, B 
Luke, and John, so called, were iii tht 
of the Christian Church at least as early as 
year. That they were at that time in the G. 
tongue, but that they contained the same accounts 
of miracles, parables, journeys, and other transac- 
tions and circumstances of the life of Jesus, as our 
Gospels contain at this day; and that they were 
held by the Christian Church of that time to be 
the authentic, the genuine, the veritable memoirs 
of their Master. 

But, argues Strauss, no one knows w?u} wrote 
these Gospels j nobody knows where they were 
written, or wfim they were written 1 Perhaps some 
of the disciples of this Jesus of Nazareth wrote 
some short accounts of hinjj but they never could 
have written books of the length and having the 
contents of our Gospels, for they never saw the 
miracles there related, since those miracles never 
were performed. They very likely wrote short 
accounts of a very simple character, and others 
added more marvellous stories to these simple ac- 
counts ; and so the books grew larger by repeated 
additions, till the books became of the bulk and 
nature that we see they have now. And, insists 
Strauss, between the date a.d. 33, when this Jesus 
died, and a-D. 175, being 142 years, there is ample 



time for the formation of these marvellous books, 
by successive accretions of the more marvellous ; 
there is ample time for the growth and expansion 
of the mythicaJ element 

And you may see its growth, palpably, for your- 
self, asserts Strauss, if you will only slightly exert 
your critical faculty ; it is so very evident in the so- 
called Four Gospels. For instance, Jesus is affirmed 
generally in the Gospels to have raised the dead. 
But in the two earlier Gospels this is a very unim- 
portant sort of act ; he enters a room where a 
maiden lies who had only just died, or was sup- 
posed to be dead, takes her by the hand, and recalls 
her to life, or seems to do so. When you get to 
the later-written Gospel called by the name of 
" Luke," Christ again is related to have raised the 
dead ; but this time it is a story of increased mar- 
vellousness : the widow's son of Nain had been 
dead some time, for he was being borne on a bier 
to the place of burial, and Christ recalls him to 
life. But how the mythical element has grown 
when you come to the Gospe! said to have been 
written and published by John at the close of lihe 
first Christian century ! Jesus now raises to life 
Lazarus, a man who had not only been dead some 
time, but who had been four days in the tomb, and 
whose body, according to his own sister's account, 
must have been in a state of putrefaction I You 
may thus trace out and detect for yQUT?,e.y. 'Cna 




mythical, the legendary, the fabulous character ofd 
great part of the Four Gospels, declares Straussa 
aud clearly satisfy yourself that they are uaworthjj 
of being received as a body of historical truth d 

These are strong blows to strike at a wea 
Christian ; strong blows to strike at the faith of g 
good but not very intelligent or well-informed ta 
Such a man is likely to regard a man of logic a 
leamirtg with a degree of awe. And if the o 
logic and learning tells him that he is cleaving for 
salvation to what is told him in a book that is 
unworthy of his belief^for nobody knows wAt> 
wrote the Four Gospels, nobody knows toAcrr they 
were written, or w/im they were written^the blows 
are very likely to be too strong for him. These 
blows have knocked Many a man down, to my 
certain knowledge : many a man who has never got 
up again. 

But now let us take courage, my friends, and 
dare the weight of these blows. Let us examine 
for ourselves what the strong assertions of Strauss 
are worth. 

" Nobody knows who wrote the Gospels." What 
is the exact meaning of Strauss ? He cannot mean 
that they are anonymous books — books written 
without any authors' names being attached to them, 
because he and the world know that they are called I 

^k the " Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." ^^m 


Then what does he mean ? Is it that, although the 
books are called by these names, we have no 
reason to think that they are the right names? 
Why ? IVho produces evidence that they are the 
wrong names? No one. Then why should we 
deem them the wrong names ? How do we judge, 
and how do we believe, respecting the authorship 
of other ancient books : books written as early, and 
even earlier than the Four Gospels ? What is the 
foundation for what we regard to be our true know- 
ledge of the authorship of other ancient books ? 
How do we know that Csesar wrote the " Com- 
mentaries on the Gallic War"? How do we know 
that Virgil wrote the " Eneid " ? I purposely select 
two of the best known, the most universally known, 
of ancient books. How do we know that Cresar 
and Virgil are the true names of the authors of 
these books ? How do we know ? Because tliese 
are the names the books have home ever since they 
were heard of. They have never been called by 
any other names. No sane person ever arose in 
the ancient time and said, "Ctesar was not the 
name of the person who wrote the ' Commentaries 
on the Gallic War ' ; the author's true name was so- 
and-so," any more than any sane man is to be 
found now who says that. No sane person ever 
arose in the ancient time and said, " Virgil is not 
the name of the poet who composed the ' Eneid' ; 
the author's true name was so-and-so," any vaaT.*. 


than any sane man is to be found now who says 
that. Scholars would regard a man as of unsound 
mind who asserted his belief that we did not know 
the true names of these, or of the other Latin 
classics generally. 

Then why am I not to regard the names aB 
equally certain when I turn to the Four Gospels ? 
Just as I believe I am certain and sure when I say 
that Cfesar and Virgil wrote the " Commentaries " 
and the "Eneid," why am I not to feel equally 
certain and sure when I say that Matdiew, Mark, 
Luke, and John wrote the Gospels that bear their 
names? These are the authors' names that the 
Gospels have home ever since they were heard o£ , 
They have never home any other names. No 
person ever arose in tlie ancient time and said, 
" Matthew, surnamed Levi, was not the name of 
the man who wTote that Gospel ; the man's real, 
name was so-and-so," any more than a sceptic 
dares to arise now-a-days, and say, " Matthew 
write that book you call a ' Gospel ' ! no such 
thing ; the name of the man who really did write 
that book was so-and-so." No person ever arose 
in the ancient time and said, " John, whose sur- 
name was Mark, was not the name of the man who 
wrote that book yon call a ' Gospel ' ; the man's 
real name was so-and-so," any more than a sceptic 
dares to arise now-a-days, and say, " Mark write [ 
that book yon call a 'Gospel ' ! no such thmg : 


the real name of the writer of that book was so- 

Now, why am I not to regard myself as certain 
and sure in the one case as in the other? I will 
suppose that I have an intelligent and candid 
sceptic present, and I will put the case to him. 
What do you think I say to hira, of the interroga- 
tory parallel, or duplicate question, I put before 
you? What do you think of its fairness? Why 
am I not bound to believe as firmly in the one 
case as in the other ? 

"Fairness," he would reply, "fairness? No 
sensible or candid man can doubt the fairness of 
the parallel, or duplicate question you present to 
rae. No doubt it is as fair on one side as on 
the other. I cannot deny its fairness. But then 
you know well enough that I do not believe in 
miracles, and so I do not believe the Four Gospels 
to be real history. Nay, furthermore, I am free to 
tell you that I do not believe your parallel, as you 
call it to be worth anything either on the one side 
or on the otiier. I tell you boldly that I do not 
think I am bound to believe, absolutely^ that Cifisar 
wrote the ' Commentaries,' and Virgil wrote the 
' Eneid,' if that be all the evidence you c^n give. 
I may not think it worth the trouble to deny 
either ; but I certainly do not think I am bound to 
believe absolutely, if that be all the evidence you 
can give. You sav these are the names by which 


these books have always been called ever since 1 
they were heard of, and they have never been i 
called by any other names. Well, that is only 1 
very loose and lean evidence, in my judgment. , 
Names may be given to things without fact, and I 
with only fancy to guide the givers, 

" Now if you could give me circuuisiantial cnii 
dence of the authorship of these books, I shoul^j 
be bound to receive it. Circumstantial evidencfrl 
carries mth it full conviction to the minds of a 
jury when there is an utter absence of all positive 
and direct evidence. A man is on his trial for the 
crime of murder. There is not a single witness 
who can swear, ' I saw him murder the man.' 
There is not one who can swear to witnessing the 
direct and actual commission of the murder, or 
the striking of the blow that caused it But the 
accused was known to have a deep quarrel with 
the muTdered man ; was seen near to the scene of 
the murder close upon the time when it must have 
been committed ; and tlie witnesses who saw him 
noted his disordered look and manner, and soiled 
and torn dress. An instrument was found lying 
by the murdered man; with that instrument the 
murder had ei'idently been committed : that in- 
strument was stamped with the initials of the 
accused ; and there are witnesses who swear they 
had often seen it in his hands. Furthermore, the 
clayey soil where the murdered man was found 


bore marks of a struggle, and a frequent footmark 1 
was noticed in the clay. The shoe of the accused J 
fitted it exactly. 

" This is what is terraed 'circumstantial evidence,' 
and the jury say 'guilty,' when it has all been dearly 
kid before them; and they say it without hesitation. 
Now, can you give me circumstantial evidence — 
clear and substantial evidence of that nature?" 
demands the doubter. " You say Cfesar wrote I 
the ' Commentaries on the Gallic War.' Now giveiB 
me the circumstantial evidence. 

"When did he begin to write them? You cannot J 
tell me the exact year of his age, or the year of ' 
Rome. Could you answer the question in a looser 
and more general way ? Did he begin to write 
the Commentaries before he crossed the Riibicoa ? 
or was it soon after? How old was he, and where j 
was he Hving, when he finished the and book, 'De j 
Bello Gallico'? and how long afterwards did he 
finish the sth book ? 

" You believe that Virgil ■ 
Tell me where he began to v 
Mantua, his birthplace? Was 
it at Verona ? or can you namf 
Ilaly, and assure m 
write the ' Eneid ' ? 

e the ' Eneid.* 
it. Was it at 
;? Was it at Rome? Was j 
you name some other city u 
: that tAere Virgil began to J 
How old was he, and where,! 
exactly, was he living when he finished the second J 
book, the sixth, the tenth?" 

The reply is that none of these questions can ba \ 



answered. An6quit>- has not left: us the means of 
answering them. Nor can such questions be an- 
swered with exactness respecting any book of 
antiquity that I am aware of But if any one 
asks me for circumstantial evidence respecting the 
authorship of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, 
and John, I tell him that it can be given with a 
length and breadth and strength that cannot be 
given for any other, even of the most highly- valued 
and most celebrated works of antiquity, I now 
entreat your close and wakeful attention to the 
circumstantial evidence for the authorship of the 
Four Gospels, while I endeavour to rehearse it in 
your hearing, as briefly and dearly as I can. I 
entreat you to give all your power of attention to 
the enquiry. It is a most vital one, for time and 
eternity, to you and me. 

What is it, I ask again, that Strauss affirms? 
" Nobody knows who wrote the Four Gospels ; 
nobody knows where they were written, or when 
they were written. " I say, again, that when 
Strauss affirms that nobody knows who wrote the 
Gospels, he cannot mean that they are anonymous 
books — books without authors' names ; he knows 
that they are called the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, 
Luke, and John. Then what does he mean? I 
ask again. Does he mean that, supposing tliey 
really are the right names, yet the names are 
worlliless to us, for nobody knows who diese 



people were— they are mere men in the moon, there 
is no historical identity about them, there is nothing 
on record to connect them with the history they 
narrate, if it be a history ? But if this be really 
what Strauss means, the simple reply is — ii is not 

I. Nobody knows who Matthew was ! no 
historical identity about him ! nothing on record to 
connect Matthew with the history that he narrates 1 
Let us see. He is called ' Matthew tJie publican.'* 
The TiXuivai, publicans, or under-tax-gatherere, 
were chiefly Jews, and their countrymen did not 
like them to fill the office ; it was held to be 
derogatory to the character of one of the chosen 
people of Jehovah to collect a tribute to be paid 
to their pagan conquerors ; and they were called 
" publicans and sinners." The office and duty of 
the publican were to be present at his place of 
business at such hours of the day as were deemed 
proper, to receive the taxes — customs, or excise 
we should say — on taxable articles. He had, of 
course, to keep a full and correct account ; he had 
to write down the name of the person who paid 
the tax, the name of the residence of that person, 
the date of the payment, the sum that was paid, 
the name of the taxed article, and its weight o 
measure. And he had to present tlie full and 
correct account, and to hand over the payment, 
either to some superior officer of the Roman 

government, or to some person of rank who 
" farmed " the tax, as we say, either under the 
emperor or the Roman senate. 

Now, a person who had these business qualities 
was a very hkely person to write such a book ss 
the Gospel called by his name. The Gospels are 
not, any of them, the composition of a Macaulay, 
or a Froude, or a Gibbon, a Hume, or a Robertson. 
They are not books of splendid rhetoric, of showy 
ornament, or studied periods. They are very plainly 
written books ; and Matthew was a very likely 
person, we repeat, to write such a book as the 
Gospel which is called by his name. Likely 1 why, 
he is called to be a disciple ; he is appointed one of 
the twelve apostles, and he makes a feast at his 
own house for Christ and his disciples, when he i 
is appointed to be an apostle. Then, henceforth, 
he is with the Master. He sees the miracles which 
he describes in his Gospel. He hears the parables 
and tliat sermon on the mount which he reports 
for us, He can tell us, as an eye and ear witness, of 
the wondrous compassion of the Son of man for 
the wretched and the suffering, and of his healing 
power. He can relate to us, from persona! ex- , 
perience, with what love and kindness Jesus con- 
ducted himself towards his disciples. He 
assure us, from personal observation, of his gentle- 
ness to the poor and lowly, and his unflinching 1 
reprobation of the pride and hypocrisy of the 


scribes and Pharisees. He can assure us how they 
persecuted him to death, and how one of his own 
chosen disciples betrayed him. He can describe 
the crucifixion and burial of Christ; and can 
present us with such facts as came to his know- 
ledge and eye-sight respecting the resurrection of 
his Lord and Master. 

Not know who Matthew was 1 No historical 
identity about him I Nothing to connect him with 
the history he narrates I Why he is just the 
historian we want ; he is the very eye and ear 
witness we need. We do not want a mere literary 
man, lodging in a two-pair back somewhere in 
Jerusalem, and who steps out languidly now and 
then to gaze on the young " Prophet of Nazareth," 
through his eye-glass, amidst the crowds that shout 
" Hosanna to the Son of David ! " in the narrow 
streets of the sacred city. We want our bforma- 
tion — if we are to depend on it — from an earnest 
man who has companicd with the Saviour, and 
felt the divine electricity of union with him in 
heart and soul ; the thrill of wonder and awe at 
his miracles j the glow of love at his pity and 
goodness and gentleness, Matthew is the very 
man we want Don't tell us that we know not 
who he was, 

"But stopl" cries the objector; "remember, 
that supposing you have really estabhshed the 
historical identity of Matthew, shown who he was, 





and his personal connection with the hi 
he writes — 'history,' as you call it ; remember that 
you cannot meet the two other challenges of 
Strauss, as to where they were written, and when 
they were written. How will you, or can you, 
meet these challenges with regard to Matthew? 
He does not inform you, in any part of his Gospel, 
where he wrote it, or when he wrote it." Perfectly 
undeniable. But such is the case with thousands 
of books. It is but rarely that the author himself 
in his own book — except it be simply a biography 
of himself— tells us where he wrote the book, and 
when he wrote it; and it would have been an 
unusual and strange act if Matthew had done this 
in his Gospel history. It is not in Matthew's 
history of Jesus that we should look for such state- 
ments, any more than we should look into Hume's 
( History of England, or Rapin's, or j^Henry's, 
vMacaulay's, or Froude's, for an account of the 
V^ exact dates when they commenced the writing, and . 
when tbey finished it, and the name of the place 1 
'where they wrote. 

But now I again solemnly challenge your thought 1 
and attention. Can any one of you suppose that I 
that earnest Christian Church which put persona ^ 
out of its pale when they gave up these Gospels 
to be biUTit, at the demand of a persecuting 
emperor— that the members of the early Christian 
Church who quoted the New Testament in their J 


Is I 




conversation, their prayers, their letters, their ser- 
mons, their treatises, and lived upon what they 
beUeved to be the truths of the book — that the 
Christian Church, whose writers quoted these 
books so often that we can collect the whole New 
Testament, save eleven verses, from tliose *orks of 
theirs that remain, and were written in the seCMid 
and third centuries, kept no record w/ifrt'these 
their beloved books were written, nor lahen 
they were written ? The supposition would be 

We can seldom have contemporary evidence of ' 
the authorship of a book when we go back to 
times long before our own. But wlien we have 
evidence close upon the time of the existence of 
an author, and this is fortified by evidence that 
thickens immediately after, we never think of 
doubting. In matters of this sort this is evidence 
of the highest kind. Now this is the kind of evi- 
dence we have for the autliorship of Matthew's 
Gospel. The Fathers who knew the Apostles or 
their companions declare that Matthew wrote this 
Gospel, wrote it at Jerusalem, for the Christiatf ' 
Church there, a large but poor church, and there- 
fore wrote it in their native dialect ; and wrote it 
before the destruction of Jerusalem. Papias, the 
disciple of John and companion of Polycarp j 
Irenceus, the discl|,k of Polycarp; Origen, the 
disciple of Ireno;us; and, after Origen, Eusebius, 


Jerome, Cyril, Chrjsostom, Augustine, and others, | 
combine to give us this evidence. 

That Matthews Gospel was written at Jerusalem 
and for tlie Christian Jews may be considered c 
tain, because he so often refers to Jewish customs, 
bat never explains them ; and so often quotes the 
Jewish Scriptures, seeming to keep the instruction 
of the Jews before his mind as his guiding thought. 
That Matthew's Gospel was written before the 
destruction of Jerusalem is evident, because he 
perpetually writes as if everything remained at 
Jerusalem as it was in Christ's lifetime. Ami 
Matthew, in our Z4th chapter, seems no more 
to have understood that his Divine Master was 
prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem than did 
the rest of the apostles ; but he must have under- 
stood it, had he recorded the prophecy after the 1 
destruction of Jerusalem, as clearly as we understand 

Matthew's professional emplojTnent, as being 1 
dial of one who " liandled the pen of the ready 1 
writer," would cause hun to be looked to the earliest \ 
for such a task as a memoir of his Lord; and 
' Memoirs' would seem to have been the early title 
of our Gospels, for Justin Martyr speaks of them 
frequently as 'Memoirs,' and only two or three 
times calls them Gospels. They seem to have 
soon lost the first ritle, for no one repeats it after ' 
Justin Martyr. 

iPEL. 97 

In concluding my observations on the First 
Evangelist, I think I shall be borne out in my 
affirmation by those who hear me, when I say there 
is no truth in the assertion of Strauss that no one 
knows who wrote the First Gospel, no one knows 
who Matthew was, nobody knows when it was 
written, or where it was written. 

2. Let us now try the truth of the affirmation 
of Strauss, as applying to the authorship of the 
Second Gospel. Nobody knows who Mark was : 
John, whose surname was Mark. There is no 
historical identity about Mark ; nothing to connect 
him, in any way, with the history — if you call it a. 
"history" — which, you say, he wrote, about Christ 
There is no circumstantial evidence for Mark's 
authorship of the Gospel which bears his name. 
Let us see. What does Paul call Mark ? 

I need not take up your time by discussing any 
question about Paul's testimony on these points of 
Christian evidence. There is not a sceptical 
school in Germany or France that does not ac- 
knowledge Paul's existence and activity as a 
Christian preacher and missionary. Their language 
translated into our mother- English is, " Tliat's the 
fellow that has done al! the mischief ! If it had 
not been for Paul, we should very likely never have 
heard of this Jesus Christ The early fanaticism 
might have died out had it not been for him, and 
for his incessant activity in preaching and writing 


those leaas to the drarches,' and so on. So *c 
need not spend tirne. jusi now, in discussing Paul's 
credibQity or authorily as a witness. 

Again, I say. What does Patd call Mark? 
"Sister's son to Barnabas," Barnabas, or "the 
SOD. of consoia-tion," that Levite convert to Chris- 
tianity frotn the island of Cyprus, who had land. 
and soid it, and laid the money at the feet of the 
apostles, when, just after the day of Pentecost, they 
had "all things coramon." This is Mark's uncle, 
and as the uncle is much attached to Paul, the 
nephew becomes the companion of both; and, 
long after, Mark is often mecdoned as a companion 
and assistant o£ Paul, even when the imcle is not 
with them, 

But Peter also knows Mark, and mentions Mark 
in his first epistle : "The Church that is at Baby- 
lon, elected together with you, saluteth you ; and 
so also doth Marcus iny son." Babylon, which 
Eusebius telis us meant Rome. That spiritual 
Babylon depicted with such intensely vivid power 
in the Book of Revelation. That Rome is the 
"Babylon" from which Peter writes, I feel fully 
persuaded, notwithstanding the contrary opinion of 
some scholars ; and that the early Christians used 
the Apocalypse and its phraseology, and expected 
the fulfilment of some of its prophecies in their 
own days, as is evident from Justin Martyr, who, 
^lllthuugh he never mentions the name of 



gclist, tells US that "John, one of the apostles of 
Christ," wrote the Revelation. 

When Peter calls Mark his son, he is understood 
to mean that Mark was his spiritual son, because 
Mark was converted under his preaching, say the 
Fathers. And so Pete^ becomes a friend and 
intimate of this Levite family of Christians. You 
may see that he was so esteemed ; for, on the night 
that Peter is released from prison by the angel, he 
goes and finds tlie Christians at midnight, holding 
a prayer-meeting — Shall I say? — at the house of 
"Mary the mother of John, whose surname was 
Mark;" that is to say, also at the house of Bar- 
nabas's sister. So, then, although the second evan- 
geUst was not, like the first, one of the twelve 
apostles, yet he is in the midst of their assembUes, 
and the assemblies of their friends, and must, there- 
fore, have become fully acquainted with all the 
circumstances and facts of the Gospel history 
which were rehearsed by the apostles. But, 
suppose he had never seen a miracle by the 
Saviour, or heard a parable from Him: suppjse 
Mark had never seen Christ— though no one has' a 
right to say aught of the kind — yet, I repeat he was 

a situation to become fully acquainted with the 
facts of the Gospel history; and therefore a very 
likely person to write a Gospel. 

But the testimony of the Apostolic Fathers — 
Irenffius, Clement of Alexandria, Tertulliau, 


Origen, Eusebius, and others, the earliest . 
most important Christian writers who succeeded 
the apostles and their companions — -I say the early 
testimony of the Christian Church respecting the 
authorship of Mark's Gospel, although brief, is of 
such peculiar importance' that I beg your closest 
attention while I rehearse it to you, Mark, they 
affirm, wrote his Gospel at Rome, — wrote down 
the substance of Peter's preaching, at the request 
of the Christian Church in that city, where he 
had acted as Peter's interpreter ; and that the 
apostle knew of it, and approved it How short 
this information is, and yet how important it is ! 
and how it recalls to our recollection what we have 
just been talking of) — Peter writing from the spi- 
ritual Babylon, that "eternal" Rome, and telling 
us that his " son " Mark is with him I 

Brief as this information is, it completely over- 
throws Strauss's affirmation — " Nobody knows who, ■ 
nobody knows where, and nobody knows wheiL" 
Mark's Gospel, it is clear, from the conjoint state- | 
ment of so many of the Fathers, was, like Mat- 
thew's, written before the destruction of Jenisalem 
in (he year 70, by the Roman army under Titus ; a 
fact which may also be clearly gathered from Mark's 
Gospel as well as from Matthew's. But what is the 
peculiar statement of this testimony of the Fathers ? 
That Mark, who interpreted while Peter preached, 
wrote down the substance of Peter's preaching. So 
that the second Gospel might te called the Gospel 



of Peter, with almost greater propriety than it is 
called the Gospel of Mark. 

" Peter's preaching ? " says some one, who is dis- 
posed to be crirical while he listens to me ; " Peter's 
preaching? You don't thint it likely, do you, 
that Peter's preaching at Rome resembled Mark's 

Pray, my good friend, I would reply, how do you 
think Peter diii preach at Rome ? Try to imagine 
it with something like verisiroihtude. You know the 
aposdes could not take as a text a verse from the New 
Testament when it was not written j they could not 
take a text, and divide it "first," "secondly," and 
"thirdly," according to the stiff old Aristotelian 
mode, still followed by so many modem preachers ; 
or go on to " nine teen thly," " twentiethly," and 
" lasdy," like some of the good old Puritans. 

Their first duty, you know, when they entered a 
new town or city, was to remember their Divine 
Master's injunction, and "go first to the lost sheep 
of the house of Israel ! " If there were a Jewish 
synagogue in the place, they had to carry their mes- 
sage thither first And now, again, if there were 
time to dwell upon it,, how we might expatiate on 
that remarkable Providence which had led the Jews, 
for some hundreds of years before, to the cultivation 
of their mercantile habits ! Alexander, 333 years 
before Christ, gave them privileges when he fomided 
the capital of Egypt, and called it by his name. 
And when Paul, and Peter, and the rest ■wevAiotftv 


as Christian missionaries, there was scarcely a port oT 
importance on the shores of the Mediterranean, or 
a city of rank in Greece, in Asia Minor, and the 
Levant, but, most likely, a Jewish synagogue was 
to be found there. So wondrously God had pro- 
vided that a little soil should be found wherever 
they went wherein the apostolic sowers could drop 
the first seeds of Christian truth I 

" Wliy did not the Jews believe in Christ ? " two 
or three notable London sceptics used to cry out, 
when I endeavoured to lay these evidences before 
them in the year 1857. "Why do you teil lies in 
the shape of asking questions?" I replied; "for 
some of you are very ingenious in that art You 
know, even while you ask that question, that hun- 
dreds and thousands of the Jews believed in Christ. 
All the first Christians were Jews. And it was not 
untU Jews refused to listen to their message that 
the apostles turned to offer Christ to the Gentiles." 

Well, when, in his character as a Christian mis- 
sionary, any of the apostles, coming to a new place, 
entered a Jewish sjnagogue to address his omi 
countrymen, he might read, or call on another to 
read, a passage in Hebrew from the Torah, or the 
Prophets, or the Psalms ; and then go on to show- 
that it was a declaration relating to Jesus as the 
promised Messiah, But when Peter preached to a 
mixed assembly of Jews and Pagans at Rome, he 
could not act so absurdly as to cause a Hebrew 


writer to be read to them. How would he have to 
preach ? He would have to tell his audience who- 
Jesus was, what He came to do, and what He did. 
' How He proclaimed Himself to be the Saviom- of 
men, how He compassionated the sick and suffer- 
ing, and healed them, how He fed the hungiy 
multitude miraculously, how boldly He reprehended 
the pride and hypocrisy of the Pharisees, how 
openly He invited the multitude to turn from sin 
to holiness, how lovingly He conducted Himself 
towards His disciples ; but how, at length, one of 
them betrayed Him, and He was seized, and treated 
with vile indignity, and at last crucified. Just so; 
and all this is Mark's GospeL 

But again, can we bring this home completely to 
our minds as an exact truth — that Mark's Gospel is 
the substance of Peter's preaching? I invite you to 
a critical inquiry, and want to rivet your attention 
to it. For, to my mind, a critical inquiry demands 
a more determined voluntary attention of the mind 
than even an argumentative and logical inquiry; 
since, to some, it looks trivial, and others find that 
it tends to dissipate the power of reasonmg, by the 
scattered character of the items it presents for con- 
siderate thought What kind of a Gospel is Mark's 
Gospel? You know the Gospels differ from each 
other in form and maimer of narration, and some- 
times in the omission of some facts, or the inser- 
tion of other facts. Whatever may be pronounced. 


al some future period of the Church's histoiy, to be 1 
ihe true theory of inspiration (for, although eighteen j 
centuries have passed away, the Christian Church, j 
as yet, has not pronounced what is the true 
it will be a theory which admits the fact that v^ba 
inspiration does not characterize every part of ti 
Scriptures ; since the Evangelists certainly diffa-1 
verbally : they by no means always employ the samej 
words, either when describing what Christ did, OCJ 
what He said. 

How does Mark differ, now, from the other E 
gelists? U'hat is there that is peculiar to him, whicl 
an attentive reader cannot fail to remark ? 
that he often mentions some httle fact which is n 
mentioned by Matthew or Luke when they e 
relating the parallel part of the Gospel history; 
he also relates it in a striking or graphic way. 
has a strong tendency to notice facts. And o 
his link fact, as we at first deemed it to be, is foui 
to be of more importance than it seemed to I 
He did not introduce it, we discover, through i 
trifling and merely garrulous tendency ; but I 
cause he estimates the full importance of f 
Now is this any mark of Peter's mind ? 

What sort of a mind had Peter as it regards ' 
tendency to notice facts ? What kind of a i 
was Peter's? A quick, impulsive, impetuous n 
Well, that is the kind of man who does notice fj 
keenly. But we will not beg the question in t 


way. What kind of a mind was Peters as it re- 
gards the tendency to notice facts ? for you know 
all men are not alike in that respect. Some men 
have very little tendency indeed to notice facts. 

Suppose two friends of some member of my 
audience were to pay him a visit, coming from a 
distance, and had never before been in this tovm. 
You take them out to walk through the streets, and 
look about them. One of them, very likely, will 
not have got to the end of a single street before he 
yawns, and intimates that he would like to go into 
some place of refreshment, and pass the time; for 
he sees nothing worth looking at. But how very 
different is the behaviour of the other I He is aU 
curiosity about the age of the buildings, the form 
of house architecture, and a hundred other items of 
observation. He notices everything, and is never 
weary of inquiry and remark. 

Or, take two men, and send them into a crowded 
room, and ask them, when they come out of it, 
what they have seen. How different may their 
answers be 1 " Seen 1 " replies one, " how seen ? 
what d'ye mean ? what was there to see ? " " Well, 
but," say you, " can't you just tell us what you've 
seen ? " " Bless me I" replies the man, impatiently, 
" what was there to see ? — a crowd of folks and 
lot of chairs and tables. What a ridiculous question 
you put to me ! " 

Now, if Charles Dickens had been the other 



man, he would never have given you that a 
Chairs and tables? He would have made Jiem 
hve ! If there was a row of chairs and a 
fashioned arm-chair standing in front of them, he 
would have likened it to some peculiarly observant 
old fellow sitting squat and making notes upon 
the company ; he would have given the chairs 
grotesque human features. He would have told you 
all about the crockery in the room, and all about the 
colours and pictures upon JL If any man's nose 
in the room were tnisted a Httle to the right or , 
left, or a man squinted, or there was something odd 
in a lady's dress, he would have been able to tell 
you all about it, and in ^ very piquant style too. 
If he had been but five minutes in such a room, he 
could have made five pages of living and attractive 
description out of what he had seen and noticed ii 
it — five ? ay, five-and-twenty. 

I repeat, that we are very different people, coni 
pared one with another, as it regards the tendency J 
to notice facts. Now, was Peter constitutionally fl 
a keen, an exact, — shall I say, even with all his. J 
impulsiveness, — an imperturbable observer and J 
noticer of facts ? Let us turn to one of the other 1 
Gospels, and see if we can discover that such waa .1 
the case. To what shall we turn ? Let it be to some- ( 
thing of real importance in the Gospel history. . 
Well, then, let us turn to the morning of the resur- 
rection ; the events of that morning would t 


man's powers of observation, if he had any. What 
do we read of Peter's conduct during that morning ? 
Turn to Luke, and see what he says about it ; and 
then turn to John, and observe how pointedly he 
corroborates Luke, But take especial notice of 
what John says ; for he is with Peter that morning. 
What does John say ? That, when Mary Magdalene 
returned from the sepulclire to tell Peter and John 
(most likely knowing that they lodged together as 
friends — all the disciples would not lodge in one 
house) that the stone was removed, and the Lord's 
body was gone from the tomb, the two disciples 
ran to the sepulchre. But that " the other disciple," 
meaning John himself, the other disciple whom 
Jesus loved, " did outrun Peter, and came first to 
the sepulchre. And he, stooping down, and look- 
ing in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in. 
Then cometh Simon Peter, follomng him, and 
went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes 
lie, arid the napkin iliat was about his head, nut lying 
■aiith the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place 
by itself." And the Greek words more exacdy 
mean " neatly folded up in a place by itself" 

WTiat a singular power and tendency of mind — 
nay, what a remarkable combination of seemingly 
opposite qualities in a mind — does this little gem 
of a narradve discover to us 1 That Peter- 
ever impulsive Peter, who does not stoop down 
look in, but goes in to the sepulchre without hcsi- 

n to I 

hcsi- I 




Ution — that Peter, with his mind all huiry and 
perturbation with the news of the disappearance of 
his Master's body, should be able to notice, so 
minutely and exactly, that fact about the napkin. 
^Ve can scarcely conceive of a more striking proof 
of a man's possessing a strong, constitutional, and 
unconquerable tendency to notice facts, and no- 
tice them strictly, even under circumstances most 
forcibly calculated to distract and dissipate such a. 
man's power and tendency. 

Now let us return to the Gospel of Mark, and see 
if we can discover in it the very characteristics of 
mind, the identical power and tendency of mmd, 
that we have just been describing. And let us 
take in our hand the key which the Fathers give us 
to unlock the secret of the authorship of the Second 
Gospel. They combine to assure us that it con- 
tains the substance of Peter's preaching, written 
down by Mark, his mterpreter. If that becomes to 
us clear, as a fact, we shall, I undertake to say, 
feel convinced we also discover personal traces of 
Peter's feelings in the preaching which Mark has 
written down. And that will be in accordance 
with our experience of human nature. It will be 
just what we should expect to discover. 

What shall we turn to, in Mark's Gospel, as 
likely to assist us in our search? Let it be some- 
thing of stirring importance in the general Gospel 
narrative. Suppose we turn to the storm on the 


Lake of Geanesaret. What do Matthew and Luke 
say of Christ in that scene of peril ? Simply, " He 
was asleep," and "He fell asleep." But what do we 
read in Mark? "He was in the hinder part of 
the ship, asleep on a pillow." 

How comes this minuteness and particularity 
into the narrative? one cannot help asking. What 
has the pillow in the hinder part of tite ship to do 
with the storm, and the peril of the disciples, and 
the miracle that follows ? How could any one 
think of aught so unimportant, we ask, in the midst 
of such a scene ? How could Petet get time to 
think about it — for, remember, it is written down 
from his preaching — while he cried out, no doubt 
with the other terriBed disciples, " Lord, save us ! 
we perish" ? How could Peter call to mind aught 
so apparently unimportant, while listening to the 
awful Being who arose, and said, "Peace, be still!" 
and there was a great calm? How their blood 
must have become chill with awe, and how "the 
hair of their flesh must have stood up''^as the 
expression is in Homer and the Book of Job- — 
while they said, " What manner of man is this, that 
even the wind and the sea obey him ?" 

We must seek the answer to our inquiry in our 
knowledge of common Imman nature. To see hoiv 
all the commentators are puzzled with this "pillow 
in the hinder part of the ship" is most amusing. 
It quite confounds all their learned heads. The 

no THE PILLOW IN Peter's boat. 

Greek word ffpoCTKf^aXaiov is, literally, a pilloi 
But the comtnentators have taken every imaginable 
sort of round-about way to explain it. Yet I feel, 
let all the corametitators in the world say what they 
will, I must come to nature here. I feel instinct- 
ively that the cause of this particularity is personaJ. 
The boat must have been Peter's own. He is 
spoken of as the boat-owner, during the miraculous 
draught of fishes. Ah ! Peter would be fond of 
having his Master in his own boat. And whenever 
poor Peter, who had denied his Master, and felt 
ever-during self-condemnation for it, rehearsed the 
account of the storm in his preaching, he would 
never forget where his dear Lord slept "on the 
pillow in the hinder part of the ship ;" for it would 
be a consolation to his sorrowing mind to remem- 
ber that he had always provided a pillow for his 
dear Master's head, in his own boat, and most likely, 
had not one himself; for it is "ike pillow" in the 
Greek, not " a pillow," showing pretty clearly 
that there was but one pillow m the boat. 

Let us turn to another striking proof that the 
Second Gospel is the substance of Peter's preaching. 
What does the angel say to the women at the sepul- 
chre, on the morning of our Lord's resurrection, 
according to Matthew ? " Go and tell His disciples 
that He goeth before them into Galilee." "Go and 
tell His disciples;" thatis,(i// Hisdisciples. Mat- 
thew relates what the ange! said in a general way. 

"tell his disciples, and peter. 

But whenever Peter related what was told him \iy 
the women to whom the angel spoke, if he himself 
were personally named by the angel, he would not 
fail to remember it So thus Mark gives Peter's 
recollection: " Go your way, tell His disciples, ii«rf 
J'ef^, that He goeth before you into Galilee." As 
if the angel meant, "Peter denied his Master; but 
his Master has forgiven the heart-broken penitent 
already. Don't forget poor Peter 1 Go your way, 
tell His disciples, and Peter, that He goeth before 
you into Galilee." One sees at once that the 
information comes from poor grateful Peter. 

We have just now mentioned Peter's denial of . 
his beloved Master. Let cs stay for a moment or 
two, and contrast Mark's narrative of the circum- 
stances with the narratives of die other Evangelists, , 
and see if we cannot again bring it home as a con- 
clusive fact and a circumstantial reality to our 
minds, that Mark's Gospel is the substance of 
Peter's preaching. This time, be it remembered, 
we have the four Evangelists for comparison. How 
does the general narrative begin? With the ac- 
count of the institution of the Last Supper — that 
meal of hallowed sweetness wiiich they could 
never forget to the end of their lives. The soul 
of Christ must have been already "sorrowful , 
even unto death ;" yet He speaks with such w 
drous love and tenderness that they feel as if J 
they had never had so much of heaven upOQ J 


earth since they were bom as they experience ih 
that hour. And He suddenly breaks the rapt and 
holy calm they are all sharing, but one, with the 
startling declaration, " One of you that eateth 
with me shall betray me" I And then follow the 
inquiring alarm, "Is it I? — Is it I?" and 
Christ's further declaration, " All ye shall be" 
offended because of me this night ;" and Peter's 
self-confident assertion, " Although all should be 
offended, yet will not I ;" and the pointed pro- 
phecy of the Saviour, "Verily I say unto thee, 
Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice 1" 
Such are the words in Matthew ; and they are 
of the same import in Luke and John. But what 
are the words in Mark? He gives us the words of 
Peter himself, in his customary preaching j and 
every word was so deeply stamped in Peter's me- 
mory that he cannot foiget any word that the 
Saviour uttered I and he must give the very words 
Ihemselves : he cannot state them generally^ — "Be- 
fore the cock crow tivice thou shalt deny me thiice." 
And then, says Mark, " But he spake the mote 
vdientmtly — if I should die with Thee, I will 
deny Thee." Peter, in his preaching, cannot cease 
to take home to himself his guilt. He can never 
forgive himself, even when his Master has forgiveQ 
him. The narrative in the other three Gospela' 
informs us that the cock crew, in general term^ 
ajid repeats the words "Verily I say unto the*n! 





before the cock crow thou sha!t deny me thrice," 
as recurring to Peter's guilty memory ; but in Mark 
the characteristic particularity of the narrative is 
kept up. The cock crows once — and then a second 
time — and then Peter, remembers hia Lord had 
said, " Before the cock crow taii« thou shalt deny 
me thrice." 

Do not let us dismiss this item of our critical 
enquiry in such haste as to forget that the other 
three Evangelists meatil what Mark has expressed. 
There were two cock-crowings which were noted by 
the ancients as the announcements of the morning; 
and the second was more especially called "the 
cock-crowing" — though the two crowings were 
often mentioned distinctly. 

And what does Mark say of Peter's conduct, just 
after the denial of his Master ? " When he thought 
thereon, he wepL" "When he thoughtT Who 
could tell what were Peter's thoughls, except himself? 
That little item of information could only come 
from Peter himself. But what do Matthew and 
Luke say? That Peter "went out and wept 
bitterly." Ah, poor Peter would not say " I wept 
bitterly" — though Matthew and Luke's informant 
knew that he did : Peter never thought he had 
wept bitterly enough. 

There is another kind of proof which I wish you 
could feel to be as forcible as I feel it to be. Why 
do not you young men learn to read your Greek 

Testament? It is as easy as leaining A, B, C. 
You can make no estimate of the enjoiinent it 
would give you to be able to read the Gospels in 
Greek, and compare them one with another. A 
little skill in Greek would enable you to discover 
that Mark's Greek is the rudest— to speak plainly — 
in the New Testament. Peter's skilful and diligent 
interpreter has fully succeeded in his endeavour to 
embody in the Greek, the style and manner of an 
impublve and energetic cj:temporary preacher. 
Men who read, or speak what they have written, to 
their audiences, you know, usually display a change 
and variety of words and expressions. Not so 
with off-hand, impetuous speakers. They use the 
same words often ; and so did Peter, as Mark shews 

I may instance the frequent use of one word — 
fiiQifiiQ — "imraed lately," or "straightway," or "forth- 
with," as our good translators have variously given 
it The word occurs 37 or 38 times in St. Mark's 
Gospel; 11 times in his verj- first chapter. In St. 
Matthew it occurs but 15 times ; in St. Luke only 
S times; while St. John has it only ///r/Vf. 38 times 
this one word occurs in SL Mark, and only 33 times 
in all the other three Gospels put together. "And 
straightway Jesus did so and so — and immediately 
he did so and so — and forthwith he did so and so." 
The phrase and manner of an energetic speaker. 
. Mark had interpreted for Peter during his preaching 


SO often, that he produces the exact mannerism ot 
Peter's delivery, in writing down, from memory, the 
substance of Peter's preaching. 

But it is the graphic power, which Strauss half- 
sneeringly terms the " dramatic tendency " of St 
Mark, and his ever-present habit of being particular 
even to minuteness in his relation of facts, which 
is his distinguishing characteristic — just as we learn 
from t!ie narrative of the Resurrection, that this 
was the constitutional tendency, or instinct one 
might say, of the mind of Peter. This minute 
particularity and exactness sometimes make one 
smile : for instance, when Christ tells his disciples 
to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, Matthew 
and Luke tell us how the poor disciples, with their 
customary dulness, " began to reason among them- 
selves — It is because we have taken no bread." 
But what adds Mark ? " Neither had they in the 
ship with them more than one ioaf." Peter had 
been looking into the " locker," as our sailors would 
say. It was most likely, again, his own boat ; and 
he had felt uneasy about the meal, which was draw- 
ing nigh. Just like Peter : drctimsiantial Peter 1 

I must not dwell longer on the Second Evangelist. 
But let me just notice very hastily how there is no 
mention of our Lord's genealogy, or his miraculous 
birth, in Mark ; and Peter would feel that neither 
of Uiese relations — nor the denunciations of Beth- \ 
saida, Chorazin and Capernaum, and the comparison. 1 


of them to TjTie,Sidon and Sodom — would be E! 
to impress the minds oi the pagan Ronuuts, i 
be preached to them. Christ's temptaitioa is i 
described in a single verse ; and Peier was i 
likely to dweO on that fact before such an a 

Maik also, *^ery natarally, as Peter's 
gives the veiy wc»ds that the preacha spoke 
nalh-e Sjriac : " Talitha cumi," " Ephphatha," " Etc*, 
eloi, lama sabachthanj :" these being d>e very wtwds 
nttered by the Saviour. But what most deaiiy de- 
monstrates the ^t that the Second Gospel is a 
record of what was spoken to Gentiles, and not to 
Jews is, that it explains Jewish phrases and eusioma. 
Surely, it would have been like carrying coals to 
NewcasUe, to say, at Jerusalem — " Corban, that is 
to say, a gift ; the preparatum, that is, the day before 
the Sabbath ; defiiid, that is to say, with onwasheo 
hands." "For, the Pharisees and all the Jews 
except they wash theii hands oft, eat not, holiiing 
the tradition of the elders. And when they come 
from the marifet, except they wash, they eat not 
And many oth^ things there be, which they 1 
received to hold, as the washing of cups and p 
brazen ^-essels, and of tables (or beds)." 

Let me entreat you to observe, before i 
the Second Evangelist, how Mark's reprodact 
of his spiritual father's preaching, d 
__0s the heartfelt modesty of Peter's tnie c 
its what Matthew tetis of I 


walked on the water to meet his Lord, how Christ 
blessed him, and gave him the keys, and how Christ 
sent liim to get the temple-money from the mouth 
of the fish ; — what Luke tells us — that Christ prayed 
specially for Peter ; — and what John tells us — how 
Peter cast himself into the sea to meet Jesus after 
the Resurrection — how Christ gave Peter charge 
to feed his lambs and his sheep, and how Christ 
predicted Peter's martyrdom. 

In conclusion, I think I may say without fear of 
contradiction, Strauss cannot truly say that nobody 
knows who wrote the Second Gospel ; nobody knows 
who Mark was : nobody knows when his Gospel 
was written, or where it was wTitten. 

3. Let us now approach tlie Third Evan- 
gelist. I shall not make so large a demand upon 
your time, in the cases of St. Luke and SL John, as 
in that of St Mark. What reply aie we able to 
make to the assertions of Strauss, that nobody 
knows who Luke was, or when or where the Third 
Gospel was written ? Is Luke a mere man in the 
moon, a shadow without any historical identity? Is 
the author of the Third Gospel a mere ignoramus, 
who knows nothing about the history of Christ, 
and therefore can tell us nothing ? If that be the 
opinion of Strauss, we immediately reply, it ^ 
not the opinion of Luke himself. 

In the sixteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apos- 1 
ties, we have the author speaking in the first person 


plural, as we say: "we endeavoured to go into 
Macedonia" — "we canie with a straight course to i 
Samothracia " — " we were in that city — that is to 
say, Philippi — certain days," and so on. The author 
is with Paul ; is one who obeys the divine signal 
given to Paul of the man of Macedonia, in a vision 
saying "Come over and help us ; " and so, doubt- 
less, hears Paul preach the first Christian sermon 
ever preached in Europe. Further on in the Acts 
of the Apostles, he tells us he was with Paul in the 
voyage he made amongst the Greek islands, and to 
Tyre, and Ptolemais and Cesarea; and how he 
went witli him to Jerusalem. " The day following," 
the author of the Acts himself also tells us, he went in 
widi Paul to "James, and all the elders were preseni" 
He is thus a personal eye-witness of the real exist- 
ence of the Apostles of Christ ; and, undoubtedly, 
would hear them speak in that meeting at Jeru- 
salem and give their advice to Paul. 

As we draw nearer the end of the Acts of the 
Apostles, the author of it informs us that he sailed 
with Paul in that long and dangerous voyage in the 
Mediterranean by Cyprus and Crete, and across 
the Adriatic to Malta, and from thence to Syracuse, 
and thence to Rome, and there he concludes by 
describing to us how Paul, as a prisoner, " dwelt two 
whole years io his own hired house," and preached \ 
Christ to all who would come and hear him. 

Whoever the author of this Acts of the Apostles 

HOW Luke's gospel begins. 

may be, he is, like the Apostle to whom he is 
attached, a man of earnestness and of action, and 
is a very hkely man to write, not only this stirring 
; of the hfe of Paul, preceded by a brief 
it of the doings of Christ's earlier disciples, . 
but to ivrite some account of the life of Christ him- 
self. And he points us to the fact that he did write 
such an account in the very first words of the Acts 
of the Apostles, " The former treatise have I made, 
O Theojjhilus, of all that Jesus began both to do 
and teach, until the day in which He was taken 
up," and so on. We turn to the " former treatise." 
How does it begin ? 

" Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set 
forth in order a declaration of those things which 
are most surely beUeved among us, even as they ^ 
delivered them unto us, which frora the beginning '^ 
were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; 
seemed good to me also, havmg had perfect under- ' 
standing of all things from the very first, to write^^sl 
unto thee, in order, most excellent Theophilus, that ^^ 
thou mightest know the certainty of those tilings 
wherein thou hast been instructed." 

So then, the author of the Third Gospel begins 
it with the bold challenge that he had " perfect 
understanding of all things from the very first" 
Slrauss must have been very bold, must he not ? if 
he really asserted that Luke knew nothing of the 
history of Christ, had no certain information. 


could give us none, about Christ's words and deeds. 
For that Aokkqc, or Luke, is the name of tbe ' 
author of the Acts of the Apostles, and of die 
Third Gospel, we have the direct testimony of i 
Irenfeus and Tertullian, in the close of the second [ 
centiiry, and their evidence is corroborated by the J 
testimonies of Origen, Eusebius, and num 
Fathers that fcrflow. Justin Martj-r, also, let it be'S 
observed, repeatedly quotes St. Luke's Gospel a 
well as Sl Matthew's, and he wrote in the first half } 
of the second century. Justin does not mc 
the name either of Luke or of Matthew, but it j 
is certain that he quotes both Gospels very fre- 
quently. He does not mention either of their names, ] 
because their names would be not only unknown to I 
the persons he addresses, but would be no evi« I 
dence to them of the truth of what he was writiii|f:l 

One stray thought before I pass on. MarcioD^ J 
in the second century, attempted the mischievous j 
prank of mutilating the Gospel of Luke, and pre- 
tended that the Christian Church did not read the ' 
genuine Gospel. Tertullian's book against the | 
mutilator has come down to us, and it contains \ 
this strong sentence after he has enumerated seve- I 
ral Churches which were founded by the apostles ? 
" I affirm, then, that in those churches, and not itt 1 
those only which were founded by the apostles, but J 
in all which have fellowsliip with them, that t 


Gospel of Luke which we so steadfastly defend has 
been received from its first publication." You see, 
my friends, the belief of the early Church in the 
genuineness and authenticity of the gospels was not 
allowed to lie in their minds as an idle, slumbering 
persuasion. They were put upon their mettle to 
defend their precious possession of these Gospels 
even in the second century of our era. And, 'pon 
honour, I think they were all the better Christians 
for it. 

Irena;us tells his readers that he who rejects 
Luke will be convicted of throwing away the Gospel 
of which he professes himself a discipJe, "For 
there are many, and those very necessary parts of 
the gospel which we know by Luke's means," says 
IrenEus. And then he goes on to mention the 
facts and parable recorded by Luke which are not 
recorded by the other Evangelists — such as the in- 
formation respecting the Holy Family and the 
Family of John the Baptist in Luke's opening 
chapters ; the testimony of Simeon and Anna ; 
Christ's questioning of the doctors when he was but 
twelve yeara of age ; the age of our Lord when He 
was baptized ; the miraculous draught of fishes ; 
the cure of the woman who had been bowed down 
with an infirmity of eighteen years ; the cure of the 
man with the dropsy on the Sabbath day; the 
parable of the man who knocked at the door in the 
night time for bread ; the deed of the woman that w 

a sinner in kissing his feet and anointing Him in the 
house of the Pharisee ; the parables of the rich roan 
who hoarded up his increase, and of the creditor 
who had tvro debtors ; the parable of the rich man 
and Lazarus ; the conversion of Zaccheus the pub- 
lican ; the parable of the pubhcan and Pharisee 
praying in the temple; the healing of the ten 
.lepers; the parables of the judge who yielded to 
the importunate widow ; and of the barren fig-tree. 
And is al! this attested by one who wrote in the 
latter half of the second century ? Can there be a 
stronger proof that the Gospel of Luke, which 
IrenEBus had in his hands seventeen hundred years 
ago, and only 150 years after Christ died and rose 
again, was the same Gospel of Luke that we have 
in our hands now ? 

The attachment of St. Luke to St. Paul seems to 
have been very strong and true. In tlie great 
apostle's last letter which has reached us— the 
second epistle to Timothy^ — which is believed to 
have been ^vritten from his last Roman prison, but 
a few months before his martyrdom, in the year 68 — 
St. Paul urges Timothy to come to him and bring 
Mark with him; for Demas, he sorrowfully says, has 
forsaken him through love of the present world, 
and Crescens and Titus are gone. " Only Luke," 
he adds, touchingly,^ — -"only Luke is witli me." 
Luke is also mentioned fay St. Paul as one of his 
I* fellow-lab our ers " in his letter to Philemon 

hi s I 

you will remember that, in St. Paul's letter to die 
Colossian Church, Luke is mentioned with others 
as among the friends who visit him in his first 
Roman prison, and he is called " Luke, the beloved 
physician." He is not called a painter. That 
Popish story is only an invention of the fourteenth 
century. It has no foundation whatever in the 
testimony of the ancients. Eusebius and Jerome, 
in the fourth century, assert that Luke was a. 
physician of Antioch ; the city, you know, where 
the followers of Jesus were first called " Christians," 
"A physician?" some one wiU say, "a physi- 
cian ? Then Luke ought to be a better scholar than 
mere fishermen." Just so. And St. Luke's Greek 
is tlie best Greek of h Co pels. You know it 
could not be expc ed that Je s should speak or 
write what is called la c G ek. If they wrote 
or spoke in Gr ek wo d he mode and term of 
expression would nd e a Jewish not a Greek 
cast of thought. Thus the New Testament is 
always said to consist of Hebraistic or Hellenistic 
Greek. Luke's Greek, however, is purer than the 
Greek of the other Gospels; nay, the four verses V 
which I quoted to you from our authorised version, 
the four verses with which Luke's Gospel begins 
are, in the original, the purest and most classicj^^ 
Greek in the entire New Testament. Let me not ^^ 
forget to say that these four verses are followed by 
a passage of considerable length which you must 

JSt ^^J 


not include in the character 1 have just given of 
Luke's Greek, From the 5th verse of the first 
chapter to the end of the second chapter, Luke's 
style is so Hebraistic, that It has been shrewdly 
conjectured by some scholars that we have here a 
document entrusted to him by the Holy Family, 
and he translates it for uSj preserving the peculiar 
cast of thought, as much as possible, in his Greek 
translation from the Hebrew. 

Sl Paul does not include Luke among those 
" who are of the circumcision," when he calls him 
"the beloved physician." Luke is therefore a 
Gentile, " bom at Antioch," says Eusebius ; and he 
does not give the genealogy of Christ in the way 
that Matthew gives it, that is to say, by shewing 
that Jesus was descended from David and Abraham 
and thus was the Messiah the Jews had been taught 
to look for. Instead of this, he imitates the Gentile 
method of tracing genealogies, and beginning with 
Christ himself, traces his hne up to Adam. I 
cannot take up your time here by shewing how the 
differences in the two genealogies are to be ex- 
plained; but I can refer you to a book which I 
have read over four times with the increasing satis- 
faction that it solves the whole difficulty. Let 
me recommend all who have any unsettiedness 
on this question to read the work of a venerable 
clergyman still living, the Lord Arthur Hervey, now 
Bishop of Bath and Wells. 


Talking of difficulties in the Gospels, let me also 
note that the objection so often urged against the 
Third Gospel, respecting Cyrenius, or Quirinus, 
being Governor of Syria, when the taxing or enrol- 
ment was first made, which caused Joseph and 
Mary to go up from Nazareth, in Galilee, to Beth- 
lehem, to be taxed or enrolled, has also been swept 
away by a great living scholar. It was always 
alleged that since the government of Syria by 
Quirinus did not commence till lo, or as some said 
12 years after the birth of Christ,— the author of 
the Third Gospel was not, and could not be Luke, . 
the companion of Paul ; but some compiler in the 
gecond or third century who was not ' welt up ' in 
his chronology. Even the critical Strauss sings 
that old song. Now, however. Dr. Zumpt of Berlin, 
whose reputation as a scholar stands among the 
foremost of our time, has shown, to the satisfaction 
of all who are best qualified to judge, that Publius 
Sulpicius Quirinus was governor of Syria from the 
year 4 before Christ, to the year i after Christ ; 
and again fi-om a.d. 6 to a.d. ii. 

But Luke was a physician, we have seen from the 
testimony of St. Paul himself, and the tradition 
reported by Eusebius and Jerome. And none of 
you can read Luke's Gospel thoughtfully, and 
regard the testimony and report as untrue. St. 
Luke records more miracles of healing than any of 
the other evangelists j he takes more time 1 

126 rsE oy medical words 

describe them, and evidently feeb more interest I 
describing them than any of the other evangelists. 
Nay, but we can come nearer to the pnwf that it 
was a physician who wrote the Third Gospel ; only 
here again, I am straitened in attempting to give 
yon the proof, because you young men who might 
so easily do it, will not leam to read yout Greek 
Testament St Luke uses words which are not in 
the other Evangelists ; neither are they words com- 
mon to Xenophon aad Thucydides, and other so- 
called classic writeis. They are medical words, 
such as n'Ofm^uafioc, v^/tdnriKOf and msic, which 
are in use by Greek medical writers only. 

You will remember, how, in the Acts of the 
Apostles, when EtjTuas the sorcerer opposed 
God's work, he was told by Paul he should be 
blind for a season; "and immediately," the nar- 
rative goes on, " there fell on him a mist and a 
darkness, and he went about seeking some one to 
lead him by the hand " — the very picture presented 
so livingly in one of RaCFaetle's cartoons. The word 
translated mist — n;(Xvc — is explained by Galen, a 
Greek medical writer who comes after Luke's 
time : and he says that those who are afflicted with 
the disorder of the eye so called " seem to see 
through a sort of mist or fog." The peculiar word 
rendered 'surfeiting' in the zist chapter of St 
Luke — K^amaKt\ — is used by Hippocrates, anoth 
well-known Greek medical writer. 

Again ; Matthew, Marie, and John do not de- 
scribe the persons stricken with the palsy in the 
manner that Greek medical writers describe them. 
The three Evangelists always use the word paralytic 
— wapaXvTiKoc- St Luke uses the mode of 
expression common to Greek medical men — 
TrapaXeXvfi4vo^—thc perfect participle of the pas- 
sive voice, meaning ' paralysed." Another remark- 
able token that it is the hand of a physician who 
is employing the pen in the Third Gospel, is the 
nse of the term avvExo/ilvi} — ■ ' seized with ' or 
' taken with,' in the way that the Greek medical 
writers use it. Thus we read in St. Luke, that 
Simon's wife's mother was ' taken with ' a great 
fever ; and the Greek word I have just mentioned 
is employed again in the Acts of the Apostles, to 
describe die sickness of the father of Pubhus ' the 
chief man of the island ' of Melita or Malta. 

But St Luke was a gentleman as well as a phy- 
sician. He will not let his profession down. 
When the earnest, unpolished Peter preached, we 
learn from Mark's Gospel, that he described the 
woman who had an issue of blood twelve years as 
one who " had suffered many things of many 
physicians, and had spent all that she had, and 
was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." St. 
Luke does not deny that she " could not be healed 
of any" ; but he does not say she grew worse : he 
will not let his profession down. Nor does he give 


die rough hint that Peter seems to give that it is a 
suffering esperiment to put yourself into the hands 
of physicians. Dr. Frend also shows ns that the 
educated physician, SL Luke, employs a more 
temperate word, in the delicate Greek, to show 
how the lady expended her wealth on physicians, 
than the rough, boisterous word used by Peter, 
which indicates luxurious and riotous waste, and is 
the word used by St. Lube to express the wasteful 
spending of the Prodigal Son, 

In conclusion, let roe say that several of 
the Fathers say tliat Luke wrote his Gospel in 
Greece. Luke's Gospel being called by himself 
" the former treatise," must have been written be- 
fore his " Acts of the Apostles," And as the 
"Acts" does not relate Paul's martyrdom, but 
leaves Paul in his first imprisonment at Rome, 
under Nero, we must conclude, with the judicious 
Lardner, that Luke left Paul, for a time, at Rome, 
and went into Greece to compose, or finish the 
composition of, his Gospel, and the "Acts," not 
later than a.d. 64 or 65, 

I think I am now entided to aflirm that neither 
Strauss, nor any other rejector of Christianity, 
can be proclaiming truth, when he says nobody 
knows who Luke was ; nobody knows who wrote 
the Gospel now called by his name; nobody knows 
when it was written j nobody knows where it was 


4. We come at last to the Fourth Gospel. On 
the ungeniiineness of this most glorious record of 
our Saviour, the critical Strauss is very strong and 
positive. We must understand him as declaring, 
very determinedly, that nobody knows who the 
author of the Fourth Gospel was; nobody knows 
who wrote it; nobody knows when it was written, 
or where it was written. 

"Not know who John was?" every grateful 
Christian will exclaim. " What ! that disciple that 
Jesus loved, not know who he was? He who 
leaned on Jesus' breast at supper : he who could 
ask his Lord a question when others hardly felt 
courage to ask it ; he who was with his Lord every- 
where — in the Mount of Transfiguration — -in the 
garden of Gethsemane— in the hall of judgment — 
by the very cross itself, and received there the ex- 
press charge from his cmcified Lord to take care of 
Jesus' mother ? Why, if St John had not written 
a Gospel, we should scarcely have thought the 
Gospels complete." 

But is there immistakeable evidence that it was 
our John- — John, the beloved disciple — who was 
the author of the Fourth Gospel ? Be it under- 
stood that so generally and universally has the 
Christian church, all along, regarded the evidence 
for this fact as unniistakeable, that no discussions 
were raised upon it until of late years. The indus- 
tiiaus Lardner quotes the testimonies to John's 

JOSS, THE mjyrat oesceplk. 

FooiA Goqid tan Xtesxas^ 
Atbenagoias, and Theofi^as ot AbOoA, a^ 
jCfciDeni of Akxandria, and Tataffiui, m 0^ 
Kcood centm}- ; and &om Oi^en, aod Fn^yhJ^n^ 
acd Epiphantni, znd Ai^tstiDe, and Cbysostom 
in the ihiid and fonnh ceniniKS ; and from laanj 
later aTiieri 

"John, ihe disciple of the Lord, who leaned 
upon His breast, published a Gospd, while he 
dwelt at Ephesus, in Asia," says Iienxus. "These 
things the Holy Scriptures teach us, and all who 
were moved by the Spirit; among whom John says, 
* In the beginning was the Lc^os, and the Logos 
was with God,' " so sa>-s Theophilus of ,\ntioch. 
" In the last place," says Clement of Alexandria, 
"John, observing that the things obnous to the 
senses had been clearly set forth in those Gospels 
(Matthew, Luke, and Mark, as he arranges them), 
being urged by his friends, and divinely moved by 
the Spirit, composed a spiritual GospeL" 

What these three Fathers thns ttTite in the 
second century, be it remembered, was the belief 
of thousands and tens of thousands of Christian 
bcUevers in their own age. We may feel as sure, 
from these clear expressions in their writings, that 
the Christians living in the century immediately 
after Christ's death believed the Fourth Gospel was 
written by our John — the John who leaned on 
Jesus' breast at supper, as we can feel sure of th©; i 


clearest and strongest, and most unimpugnable 
facts of all past histor}-. 

These three writers lived in the latter half of the 
second century ; but there are undoubted quota- 
tions from John's Gospel in Justin MartjT, who 
lived in the first half of that century. Justin does 
not mention the name of John as a gospel writer 
any more than the name of Matthew or Luke ; I 
Justin speaks of "the Logos having been made 
flesh," and says this was Christ^a doctrine he 
could only derive from John's Gospel. Justin also 
quotes the words of John the Baptist, as given J 
in the first chapter of St John; " I am not the 
Christ ; but I am the voice of one crying in 
wilderness." He was evidently acquainted w 
the words, " My Father worketh hitherto, and I 
work," from the observations he makes about the 
early Christians not keeping the Jewish sabbath ; 
and it is equally evident that he had read the third 
chapter of John's gospel, when he quotes Clirist's 
words, " Unless ye be bom agiin, ye cannot enter 
the kingdom of heaven ; and adds, " it is evidently 
impossible for those once bom to enter into their ] 
mother's womb" — an affirmative embodiment of | 
the question of Nicodemus. 

The early Christian writers unite in assuring us 
that, after the death of Jesus' mother, the beloved 
disciple went to live in Asia Minor ; and that he 
had the care of seven churches, Ephesus bein^ ^^.^s, 


is conunonlj stated to haic acaamd i 
ai OomiDzii, whicfa wdvU tie ble in tl 

. bnt tfaoc are some *-*'*''i «te j 
1^ and bdicTc the Kcr^Ktian was^i 
as 3BJ of tbe Foot Gospds. 
s assure as tbat Jobs wrote bis I 
tfosCes at Efiiesas, and ilial tlnoe in Ifae 1 
diedth jrear of his age, ■boot tbe year loo^ and 
tbe third year of the empow Tiajai 
afiectiog traits (rf the bdianMii and pieqr of tl 
Beloved Disciple in his old age are recorded 1 
the Fatheis, 

The Gospel of John, you knoT, is often called 
t!ie Supplemtntaiy Gospel ; but that is too feeble ■ 
name for it. No doubt, John purposed to saj 
some parts of the Gospel histoiy that had not b 
related by the Synoptics, as Matthew, Mark, i 
Luke are now so frequently called. But he h 
other great and independent purposes i 
his Gospel I say, in "wriring" his Gospel; f 
il does not follow that he could not write becausaj 
he was the son of a fisherman. His father, Zeb< 
dee, had " servants" attending to his boats; a 
John seems to have been free from any absolute I 
necessity to labour. Peter had his wife and his wife's 
mother to sustain ; and neither he nor Andrew 
— nor, perhaps, any other of the chosen Twelve, 
save Joiin — were constantly with theii Master. 




I beg to recommend a little book to you. It is 
entitled "The Facts of the Four Gospels." Mr. 
Frederic Seebohm is the author ; and although I do 
not know him I feel vety thankful to him for wri- 
ting that most excellent little book. The fact that 
John only accompanied Jesus in his early visits to 
Jerusalem, and that the twelve did not go with 
Jesus to that city until He went thither to die, is 
Eiade very clear by Mr. Seebohm ; and he also 
furnishes an abundance of most pellucidly clear 
illustrations on other points of the Gospel history. 

The narratives of the three Evangelists, the 
synoptics are confined very much to Christ's life in 
Galilee. For Peter in his preaching would confine 
himself to what he personally knew, and so would 
Matthew. And Luke's informants seem to have 
been apostles and Galilean disciples. The fourth 
Evangelist had therefore as a necessary part of his 
task to complete the history by informing us of the 
earlier visits of Jesus to Jerusalem. 

But he had other great purposes. First, he cor- 
rects the gnostic errors of his age. The leader 
against whose false doctrines respecting the logos 
and the pleroraa, or "fulness," St. John directs the 
opening of his Gospel, is said to have been Cerin- 
thus. As he lived in the close of the first century, 
John's Gospel could not have been published earlier 
than about the year 98, the time which is usually 
assigned to it 


i%m^ faetwia &e s 

iriKB de riin,i1iili came » Ac s 

of Jobn's sanative ^MmB it i 
cocn pare d widi Ac q rao ptka l Goapdk 
and Renan luvc ancetemoDioBdjr denied die fi 
of that part of John's tecxxd, wiucfa idates dm Jca 
raised L^zanu from the dead. It b x fictiaa of i 
hUer time thej assert, or why iras Dot such an all- 1 
imponaot miradc rdated by Matthew, Ma^ a 

The answer, and I believe the tnie ansirer, : 
•uggcitcd by Grodus, the friend of Milton ; 
Lazarus was alive during the time thai the li 

tngclists were writing their records, and thq| 


would not menrion Lazarus to draw any attention. 
10 him, because the enemies of Christ were seeking 
to kill him. An old writer says he withdrew from 
Jerusalem at the persuasion of the Apostles and 
became a missionary in Armenia, where he preached 
Christ, and declared the fact that Christ had raised 
him from the dead. When John published his 
Gospel at the dose of the first century, Lazarus was 
dead, and John gave the history of his Divine 
Master's crowning miracle to the world. 

Paley in his noble " Evidences," singles out the 
ninth chapter of John's Gospel as a master-piece of 
writing for its inimitable verisimilitude — a long word 
from the Latin, but a very expressive word — mean- 
ing "likeness to truth." You cannot read that 
chapter without feeling that it is the composition of 
an earnest eye and ear witness. But to my mind 
the verisimilitude is fully as evident and apparent in 
John's record of the raising of Lazarus and all its 
circumstantials, as in his relation of the miraculous 
giving of sight to the man who had been bora 
blind by the Saviour. 

I forbear to make further remarks on the fourth 
Gospel ; and tliink you will agree with me that 
Strauss has no truth on his side when he asserts 
that nobody knows who wrote it — nobody knows 
who John was— -nobody knows when his Gospel 
was written, or where it was writtetu 

We have now brought out the circumstantial 


fiidmce for the authenticity, genuineness, 
authorship of the four Gospels, for the historica 
identity and real human existence of their auth<:K^I 
and above all, for the competence of the Eva 
gelists to write the Gospels that bear their DameKbl 
I have not performed my task as it might be p»-l 
formed with more time and more research ; 
own conscientious conviction is that Strauss has n 
an inch of ground to stand upon, when he denies 
that we know who wrote the Gospels, when thej 
were written, and where they were wxittei 
"Mythical System" which he!d me in boDda| 
for twelve years, I feel has utterly lost i 
upon me — and I say it, thankfully. 

I do not forget, however, that I evoked the \ 
sence of that intelligent and candid sceptic; andU 
us suppose, if you please, that he is still present 

" Yes, sir," he will be saying, " I am here ; 
you have not changed my convictions. I give yoi 
credit for your own belief that all is in favour e 
your conclusions ; but I have no such belief, 
tell you again that I do not believe in miracteS'j| 
and so I hold that the Gospel miracles were nercd 
performed; and that your "Gospel History" i: 
history at all. You may believe — I do not doul 
that you honestly believe — the Gospels were w 
by the identical persons you think you have pointe^ 
out, and that they were written whai and wka\ 
you think you have succeeded in shewing they wa 


written. On the contrary, I hold that the theory 
of Strauss is not only a very probable theory, but 
that it is a most veritable theoiy : that it is the true 
way of accounting for the existence of these four 
ancient pieces of writing, called the Gospels of 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. 

" I am not disposed to deny tliat these books 
were in existence in the middle of the latter half of 
the second century : that Js to say in the year 175. 
I do not question for one moment that which is 
granted by Strauss and all tlie existing school of 
freethinkers, and by Bolingbroke and the candid 
and scholarly freethinkers of the last century. But 
then, as Strauss shrewdly observes, 142 years — from 
A.D. 33 to A.D. 17s — is ample time for the forma- 
tion of these legendary books, I make no doubt 
that some four persons, who were companions, or 
associates of the companions, of this extraordinary 
and highly gifted enthusiast, Jesus of Nazareth, 
began to write these books : wrote some part of 
them : some comparatively short part. And that 
by the natural tendency of mankind in the state of 
ignorance, which is, universally, a slate of childish 
wonder and superstition, the belief in the marvellous 
gradually expanded in the minds of the very early 
Christians ; and accounts of miracles were not only 
framed and credited, but added in writing to the 
first sketches of the Gospels. Other and still more 
marvellous stories would be added to these ; and 



SO, by successive accretions of marvels, these Fioi 
Gospels, as they are called, came to be w 
they are now, iii the course of those 142 years, t 
by the year 175. 

"And I further hold"— continues c 
friend^ — "that it is just as Strauss says: you r 
see the growth of the mythical element in these] 
books, if you will read them with the critical faculty,.' 
and not with a blind and unexamining credence* J 
When Jesus is related to have raised the d 
the two earlier Gospels, it is a very unimport 
and unimpressive affair. He enters a rootr 
a maiden has just deceased, and restores her 
The mythical element grows in the Third GospeL j 
The widow's son of Nain is raised to life upon the J 
very bier on which he had lain dead and was bein 
carried, a corpse, to the grave. But what a startlim 
increase of the legendary spirit there is when 1 
come to the Fourth and last of these remarkably 
ancient books 1 Your " John," as you call hin 
gives us the account of the Resurrection 
Lazarus : a man who had not only been dead som 
time before he was interred, but who had been foia 
days in the grave, and whose body, by his c 
sister's account, was now in a state of decompositio 

" Doubtless, that story is one of very late fon 
tion. It could only have found belief among v 
ignorant and credulous people ; or among peopl 
ho had given themselves up so thoroughly to tin 


reception of marvellous tales that they could almost 
believe anything, I should think it very probable 
that it is one of the latest accretions of the marvel- 
lous to these ancient books. I don't at all think it 
unlikely that it was added to them very nearly as 
late as the very year 175 that has been mentioned." 

Now, let us enquire into the possibility of what 
OUT sceptical friend advances as being true, namely, 
that the account of the resurrection of Lazarus in 
the Gospel of St John is merely a marvellous tale 
which was added to that Gospel about, or nearly, 
IS late as the year 175. And first, please bear it in 
mind that this is no question about printed books. 
Printed books: what, in a.d. 175? You know 
there was no printed book till more than a thousand 
years after that date. Please also bear it in mind 
that there was no collected New Testament at 
that time, it is not till years after that date that we 
learn there was a collected New Testament in use 
among the Christian Churches. In the year 175 
the Four Gospels formed a volume — a written 
volume^ — by themselves. The Epistles of St. Paul 
also formed a written volume by themselves. The 
other books of the New Testament were still loose, 
in the form of tracts ; they were not gathered into a 
third volume. Now, how many copies of the one 
written volume which contained tJie Four Gospels 
might there be in existence in the year 1 75 ? 

" Stop, sir," says some one, " there is a previous 


question, namely — What was the price of written 
books ? You know, since the majority of profess- 
ing Christians must be thought of ssfaor, they could 
not have many books among them, if books were 
dear, at that period of the world's history." 

Let me entreat you to disabuse your minds of 
that behef, if you have beheved that books were 
dear in the second century. They were dear in 
the tenth century, when scarcely anybody could 
write and read : they were dear in the 9th, 8th, jtli 
and 6th centuries ; and they were not cheap in the 
5th. But books were really cheap in the second 
century. Thousands wrote books for a living, since 
there were many readers in the highly civilised period 
of the reigns of the " Good Emperors," as they were 

Now, how many copies of the written volume 
containing the FourGospels, may we fairly suppose, 
there were in existence in the year 175? You re- 
member, Gibbon reckoned there were six millions 
of professing Christians in existence about the time 
that Constantine began to patronise Christianity — 
the year 313. Well, if there were six millions 
in 313. there would not be more than three millions, 
one would think, in 175. Now, among how many 
professing Christians shall we allot one copy of 
this volume? Andrews Norton, an American 
scholar and critic of eminence, thinks we should 
allot one copy to every 5a ; and he t3iinks that a 



fair supposition, especially whea we take into 
account the zeal of the ancient Christians and the 
high value they placed upon the Gospels. Perhaps, 
some one among my audience may say it is not 
lik ely that one copy would be fomid among every 50 ; 
better suppose one copy among every 100. Oh, 
but I would be more liberal still, and would say let 
us allot one written copy of the volume containing 
the Four Gospels among every zoo professing 
Christians. Now divide your three millions by 200, 
and what is the result? 15,000. 15,000 copies — 
written copies of the volume containing the Four 
Greek Gospels, in existence in the year 175. 

Now comes the decisive question — How to get a 
false story so long as the account of the resurrec- 
tion of Lazarus into 15,000 written copies of the 
volume containing the four Gospels, in the year 
175 ? You know, if any of you possessed a scarce 
printed book — a book which had been long out of 
print— and you were to say, ' I should like to have 
this book put into print again, and to have a story 
that I have written put into it and printed as if it 
had been an original part of the book ; I can 
afford it, and I will have it done.' And suppose 
you gave all into a printer's hands, and ordered 
100,000 copies of the book to be struck off Well, 
that would spread the story as widely as the original 
book itself, and at once ! 

But, consider now, supposing some person living 

at AatJorh. or E^be 
tfce If w i n 'ifwii sf LM ara ^ and i 
bis o'WB copf of l&e voboae cunbiBB^ the fimr 
Goipdi, iii^ wndd not vnte it down n tte TObne 
posKSMd bf any Chriqiaa Evng n Jcn^ilca^ or 
in RooK^ or at ConnA, « at FU^ipi, or st 
TbesBaJonca, or m aaj place wbeie there was 
a Cbristita CbtndL Tbe man iriio int-ented 
tfae story conld not get it written down in rite copy 
poraessed by his next door ne^fabcxii^'tr hb ndgh- 
botor did possess a co[7, witfaoat obtaimng ibat 
nei^boiii's leare: How, then, to get the leave a( 
15,000 persons scattered over France, Italy, Greece, 
the lales of the Archipelago, Aoa Minor, the Holy 
Land, Egypt, and Korthem Afnca-15,000 piofessiog 
Christians (for none else dared possess the Gospels), 
carrying their lives in their hands, and exjwsed to 
death — how, I say, to get the leave of 15,000 
zealous believers in what they held to be Di\-ine 
Truth, to write down a false and unauthorised 
story in their copies of the Gospels ? The very 
supposition is absurd — preposterously absurd. 

" Well, I must confess," says our sceptical friend, 
"tliat I overshot the bolt in supposing the feat I 
dcBtribed could be accomplished so late as A.D. 175. 
Yes, yes : it was an extreme, too extreme, a sup- 
[loitilion ; I grant that, But, sir, it could be 
actomplifthed, and doubtless was accomplished 
4t some lime earlier tlian that You say ttetJ 


Gospel of Sl John was originally published about 
A.D. 98. Well, sir, from 98 to 175 is 77 years. 
During such a period of time as that — some time 
during the 77 years, I say, there must have been 
ample opportunity for inserting the imaginary story 
of the resurrection of I^zarus in the Fourth Gospel, 
and successfully passing it off as a really original 
and authentic and genuine part of that Gospel 
No doubt of it" 

Now, let us see if there be any likelihood of 
truth in this amended position, as he deems it, of 
our sceptical friend. Who among the Fathers, did 
we say, were living in the last quarter of the second 
century? You may remember that we named as 
pre-eminent, Tertullian, Irenaius, and Clement of 
Alexandria. Of the three, let us take Irenisus. 
He was martyred at Vienne in France, for he was 
one of the early bishops of I,yons. About the 
year 175, the best critical scholars agree, Irenieus 
wrote his book against heretics. That book has 
come down to us. Listen to a few extracts from 
this book, I pray you : — 

"Matthew, among the Hebrews, published a 
Gospel in their own language, while Peter and 
Paul were preaching the Gospel at Rome, and 
founding a Church there. And after their departure 
(death), Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, 
himself, delivered to us in wTiting what Peter had 
preached ; and Luke, the companion of Paul, re- 

144 TKSiiBaaT or ikslets, 

Jelin, Ac tfwM-ir'^ itf Ae Lotd, «rbo kauKd npcm 
fab bnast, Annse rnbtJAwl a Goqid wlalc be 
dwA xt Epbpgw IB Asa-* 

IVn be pTCS socne bndfiil nasoos «ltf tbae 
donM didf be fbnr Gaq)ds — sadi as tbat there 
are Ibnr qoxnas of tbe woiU, Iber <arriinal winds, 
etc — but aD iliai «3S acconSing to the oncifut 
uste of ibe time. I don't know but that om time 
is quite as fandfol, oolf oar findes are of another 
kind, listen, I pnj, to tbe lemauiing extracts : — 

"Tbe Gospel acccnling to J<^ declares His 
(Christ's) jKincely, complete, and glorious genera- 
tion from the Father, saring ' Is the beginning waj 
the Logos, and the Lc^os was wiih God, and the 
Logos was God. All things were made by Him, 
and without Him was nothing made.' The 
Gospel accotUing to Luke, being of a priestly 
character, begins with Zacharias the priest offer- 
ing incense to God. Matthew proclaims His 
human generarion, saying, ' the genealogj- of Jesus 
Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.' 
Mark begins with the prophetic Spirit, which came 
down from above to men, saying, "The beginning 
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; as it is written in 
Isaiah the Prophet" 

If you have listened to the extracts I have 
just read from Irenjeus, you will not wonder 
that our sceptical Lord Bolingbroke, in his 

m der J 




together with Strauss and all sceptics who are 
scholars in our time, avow their belief that our 
Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, 
were in existence and were received by the Christian 
Church as early as the year 175. 

But what more about Irena;us? He tells us 
that he learnt his Christianity froin the venerable 
Polycarp, who was bishop of Smyrna— the 'blessed 
Polycarp,' IrenKus calls him ; and he declares he 
has such a regard for his instructor, '(who was after- 
wards a martyr for Christ when he was ninety 
years old) that he can still mentally see and hear him, 
" his walks, the complexion of his life, and the form 
of his body, and his conversations with the people, 
and his familiar intercourse with JohUj as he was 
accustomed to teU, as also his familiarity with those 
that had seen the Lord." 

Irenseus gives us more accounts of Polycarp and 
his " familiar intercourse " with the beloved disciple 
who leaned on Jesus' breast at supper, but let these 
suffice. Now, when was the alleged interpolation 
made in the Gospel of St. John ? In the lifetime 
of that apostle himself? that apostle from whom 
Polycarp learned so much about Christ ? that 
apostle whose prolonged life was so marked by 
increased attachment to his Lord ? I say, was the 
alleged interpolation made in John's own lifetime ? 
Who can, for one moment, imagine that it was? 
What would the interpolator expect the beloved 
disciple to say about it ? 10 


" Resurrection of I^zarus ! " he would 
claimed; "where did you get such a slory 
is the Gospel that God has inspired me to write. 
His holy spirit has brought to my mind the veryJ 
words of my Saviour at that sweet supper. But| 
you will find no story about any resiurection of 
Lazarus in it? Who has dared to forge such a 
tale ? There never was any resurrection of Laza- 
rus, or I should have known of it I was with my 
Master in Jenisalera, I was with Him in Galilee, I 
was witli Him on the Lake of Gennesaret, I was 
with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration, I was 
with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, I stood 
by His cross, and received the care of his dear 
mother from him ere He died, and I tell you there 
never was any resurrection of Lazarus. You must 
not have a false story like that in your books — away, 
with it ! " 

We fee! sure that no interpolator could have suc- 
ceeded in getting a. false account of the resurrection' 
of Lazarus into St. John's Gospel during St. John's 
lifetime, and securing its reception by the Christian 
Church- Then, since the amended supposition of 
our sceptical friend is that the interpolation could 
certainly be successfully made somewhere between 
the years 98 and 175, could it possibly have been 
made in the lifetime of Polycarp ? But what would 
the interpolator have felt sure that Polycarp would 
have said about it? for he could scarcely 



that Polycaqi, the Bishop of Smyrna, one of tlie 
" seven churches " mentioned in the Apocalypse, 
would not hear of it 

" Resurrection of Lazarus I " Polycarp would have 
said; "where have you got that story? Do you 
say you are reading it out of a copy of the Gospel 
written by my teacher? Look ! here is my copy of 
St. John's Gospel ; I had it from the hand of an 
Ephesian copyist who made it with St John's 
'original Gospel before him. You see there is no 
such story here. Not a trace of it. Brethren, 
remember what our Lord said — that false and 
deluding teachers should come. You must not 
have that false story in your books — away with it ! 
We can die for tmth, and we may have to die for 
it to-morrow ; but we cannot die for falsehood." 

Who, after even one moment's consideration, 
does not feel sure that the supposed interpolation 
would be impossible in the lifetime of Poiycarp ? 
Then, lastly, could it be made in the lifetime of 
IrenEEus? Remember, he was living in a.d. 175. 
But what would IrenKus have said when he saw the 
false stoiy, or heard it read? And one cannot con- 
ceive it possible that such an interpolation should 
be made without IrenKUS having a knowledge of it, 
for he was a man of action, and a traveller. He 
went to Rome with a message from the Christian 
Churches of France before he became Bishop of 
' Lyons, and entered into correspondence with various 



persons in different parts of the Christiaa world 
relative to the doctrines and customs of tlie Church ; 
he was no novice to whom the news of an interpola- 
tion in the Gospel of St. John would, very likely, 
never reach. \Vhat would IrenKus have said ? 

" Resurrection of Lazarus — a'/jo/ resurrection ? — 
■what Lazarus? Here is my copy of St John's 
Gospel. I had it from my martyred teacher, the I 
. holy Polycarp, who was hin[iself a disciple of thft I 
beloved disciple, and often heard the substance o^l 
this very gospel from St. John's own mouth. YoUa 
will find no such stoiy here. We never heard of itT 
before. It was not left us as a testimony of eithei 
St. John or any other apostle. Away with it ! Yoill 
must not have a false story in your books. "We can | 
die for truth, and we may have to die for it to- 
morrow ; but we cannot die for falsehood." 

Again, I say, who, after one moment's considera- 
tion, does not feel sure that the account of the re- 
surrection of Lazarus could not have been got into 
the copies of St. John's Gospel in the lifetime of 
Irenseus ? And who does not feel that the connec- 
tion of the names of Irenaaus, and Polycarp, Mid 
St John forms a chain of testimony — self-corrobo- 
rative testimony — in itseff of the truth of the Gospel 
History ? There are but three personal links in the 
chain, can you break one of them ? No ; you feel it 
is impossible to do that ; the links are so inseparably 
interweided and connected. And what is llie Ml 


force of this self-corroborarive testimony? That 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the identical 
persons we understand them to have been ; that 
they were real and competent testifiers to the truth 
of what they relate ; that they gave up their hves 
to the spreading of this testimony ; and that they 
exposed their lives to danger every day rather than 
desist from spreading this their testimony. 

There cannot be stronger testimony of any facts 
than this testimony of theirs. If their testimony be 
not true, there is no true testimony in the world of 
any facts whatever ; there are no facts ! But sane 
men do not come to such a conclusion ; sane men 
do not throw away such testimony as this. The 
world would tlien have not a single page of history 
to read, and would cut itself off from the possibility 
of learning anything from the written records of the 
past. True history is the most valuable boon 
bequeathed to us by the past generations of men ; 
and these four gospels are the most valuable boon 
of all, for, thank God ! they who wrote them were 
under the especial direction and holy guidance of 
God Himselt 

I can imagine, after all that has been said, some 
one present who is still entangled in the net of un- 
beUef, will be saying — " I should have liked your 
proofs better if they had not been so one-sided ; if 
they had not all been given by Christians. Your 
evidences,' as you caJl them, are all '^aiX ■■ 



parcel of the same thing,' as they say in old Yoit- 
shire. If you could give me some kind of 
' evidence ' from men who were not Christians 
ihat the early 'history,' as it is called, 
Christianity, and the existence of Christ himsel 
are facts, I should be more disposed to ; 
' evidence ' is worthy of belief." 

Eut who could be expected to write a Life < 
Christ save a Christian ? Who would write the litg 
of a champion of Atheism in our day ? A bisho|M 
of the established church could not be expected toff 
do it. A Methodist minister would not write itj 
The theme could be no attraction save to a sceptj-j 
cal writer. And the " Life of Jesus," to form e 
solid rest for our belief, must be the work of thos^ 
who were with him and saw and heard him. 

Yet there is corroborative evidence for the ti 
of die early Christian history, and — by deduction— 
we may also say for the reality of Christ's existence 
to be drawn from ancient sources which are « 
Cluistian. Some of you, no doubt, will be we^ 
acquainted with what Pliny and his friend Tacitu 
say about the ancient Christians. In the year i 
Pliny, the friend of the Emperor Trajan, becomes 
proconsul of Bithynia and Pontus, provinces i 
the Black Sea, and, at that time, abounding v 
Christians. The Christians were considered I 
u,ve violated Trajan's law against secret societies 

i many were brought up to the tribunal of Plin^ 


for judgment He could discover no crime of 
which they were guilty. But he tells Trajan (hat 
he learned from their own confessions, that they 
were accustomed to meet together on a certain day" 
of the week (Sunday) ; that they sang togetJi 
hymn in praise of their God, Christ ; and that they 
bound one another to abstain from theft, adultery, 
falsehood, and so on. 

Tacitus plainly tells us that, in the year 63 — (the 
very year it is believed in which Peter and Paul 
were martyred at Rome) — Nero set Rome on fire ; 
laid the blame on the Christians ; crucified some 
of them ; exposed others to be torn in pieces by 
dogs, after they had been sewn up in skins of wild 
beasts ; and put others to death by having fire set 
to them after they had been covered with pitch, or 
sewn up in pitched shirts. Tacitus, as one might 
expect from a heathen philosopher, calls Christianity 
an " execrable superstition," but affirms that it was 
derived from Christ, who was put to death in Judea 
under Pontius Pilate. Is not this something like 
corroborative evidence from an enemy of the truth 
of the early Christian history ? 

The satirist, Juvenal, who lived under Nero, 
alludes to the burnings of the Christians in their 
pitched shirts, and so does his brother satirist, 
Martial. Suetonius, writing of what took place 
under the Emperor Claudius, in 53, is also imder- 
stood to make mention of Christ 


Nor let it be forgotten that the Emperor Julian, 
Hierocles and Poiphj-rj-, who professedly wrote 
against Christianity, nei-er for a moment called in 
question the existence of Christ, or the fact that he 
had wrought miracles. And Celsus, who was the 
cotemporary of Irenseus and Tertullian and Cle- 
ment of Alexandria, in his work against Christianity, 
which was answered by Origen, proves for us that 
the Gospels were then in existence, for he quotes 
them over and over again, and shews that Christii 
valued them highly. 

To my own mind, the fulfilment of our Lord 
prophecy respecting the destruction of Jenisalei 
is one of the most striking proofs of the truth t 
Christianity. Not only Jos ephus, but Tacitus hiii!| 
self helps us to survey the dire picture in its realiM 
which had been so clearly described by Christ ; 
years before "the eagles gathered where ih 
was " — before the eagled legions under Tilus c 
to surround the 'doomed city; 37 years befm 
"the abomination of desolation spoken 
Daniel the Prophet" was seen " standin] 
holy place j" 37 years before " Jerusalem was t 
passed with armies " and the " desolation " thereof 
came, and therewith came such "days of affliction^ 
as had " not been from the creation of the world,n 

In the year 70 the prophecy was fulfilled to 1 
very letter. Not one stone was left upon anotly 
of tiiat gorgeous temple which Herod had 1 


recently beautified. In spite of resistance almost 
unparalleled in its madness, the Romans burst in 
upon the nearly famished defenders of the city. 
Titus issued a commandment that the Jews, as a 
nation, should cease to exist ; that their city should 
be razed to its foundations, and should never again 
be called "Jerusalem." And its name was not 
restored till the reign of Conslantine. 

And its condition and the condition of the Jews, 
even now, are standing proofs of the truth of 
Chrisfa prophecy. The site of the temple is 
devoted to tie religion of their persecutors, and 
yet a crowd of despised, crouching Jews cling to 
the quarter, near the ruined walls, where they s 
allowed to live. Once a week they are permitted 
to enter " the Place of Wailing,' where they turn 
towards a wall of bevelled stones which belonged to 
their ancient city, and kiss the very stones w 
tears, while they pray for Jemsalera I Oh, who 
does not long for the conversion and restoration of 
God's ancient people ? 

Yonder is the ** Mount Zion" of David, andyonder 
is the other mount whereon stood the Courts of 
the House of the Lord ; but there is no temple of 
Jehovah now I There is no more " holy of holies;" 
no more golden candlestick. Yonder is the figure 
of it in Rome, on the triumphal arch of Titus, for he 
displayed it among the spoils as he entered Rome. 
There is no table of shewbread ; no altar of incense ; 


no ark of the covenant ; no vail of the Temple ; no 
high-priest ; no assemblages of priests ;■ — and no 
sacrifice! And Passover time returns, and they 
keep it yearly — hut there is no Paschal Lamb ki/led 
and eaten ! The Jews have ceased to sacrifice, have 
ceased to kill the Paschal Lamb, in every part of 
the world ! 

Why have they ceased? Yoii ask them, and 
they are dumbfounded. They do not see that God 
has caused them to cease, for the real sacrifice has 
now been offered up, and the real Paschal Lamb 
has been slaia From China to the Cape of Good 
Hope— ^from England, across the Atlantic, to the 
New World — the Hebrew is to be found, with his 
peculiar and still unaltered physiognomy — for his 
picture remains on the walls of the tombs of the old 
Egyptian kings. He belongs to the people " scat- 
tered and peeled " — dwelling yet on the earth as a 
warning to rebellious men, and a livingproof of the 
truth of prophecy. 

I just now mentioned the martyrdom of Peter 
and Paul. Who can ponder on Paul's history with- 
out feeling that it must be regarded as part of the 
evidence for the truth of Christianity ? Paul's 
existence and course of life, and the writing of his 
letters to the Christian Churches, are held to be 
facts by all the German and French schools of 
scepticism; and that "Reverend'' Robert Taylor 
that I mentioned to you, who some fifty years 



was a favourite of the Loodon freethinkers, holds 
by the same facts. But what a puzzhng contra- 
diction it seems for men to acknowledge the reahly 
of the life and recorded acts of Paul as facts, and 
yet to deny the truth of Christianity. 

What ! Paul a real man and Christ a myth ? 
Paul a real existence ; Paul, wlio wrote so much 
about Christ so soon after his death and resur- 
rection ; Paul a real existing man, and Christ's 
existence a fable ? Paul, who held the clothes of 
Stephen, the first Christian martyr, while they stoned 
him to death? Then Stephen was also a real 
existing man, who died, praying, " Lord Jesus I re- 
ceive my spuit ! " Paul, the glorious halfmis- 
sionaiy, half-mechanic, who crossed the Medi- 
terranean and the Adriatic, and visited so many 
shores preaching Christ, and yet there never was 
any Christ to preach ? Paul, a real living man, 
who had seen and conversed with Peter, and James, 
and John? Then they were all real living rnen. 
How came they to say what they did about Christ 
if He never existed ? How came they to speak 
of His miracles to the people who must have seen 
Christ's wondrous acts, if ever He performed them ? 
Must they not have expected the people to say, 
"You are impostors! no such miracles were ever 
perfonned 1 " Vet no one said this. Even the 
worst enemies of Christ did not deny His miracles, 
though they attributed them to Satanic agency. 

IS5 I 

What motive could the apostles have for de- 
ceiving the world ? How came they to say that 
Christ had done such wondrous deeds of power aod 
goodness, and that they had witnessed them, if 
He either never existed, or never performed His 
miracles ? They could not be mistaken if they 
possessed the natural senses of men. They could 
not be mistaken either about Christ's personal 
identity after He rose from the dead. It was only 
on the Friday He was crucified, and the resurrection 
took place early on Sunday momiog, and in the 
same evening He appeared to them and conversed 
with them. They could not have forgotten His 
form and features so soon — the form and features 
they knew so welL 

Could their motive for deception have been a 
selfish and ambitious one ? Is it possible that the 
men who had piety and purity perpetually on their 
lips were false-hearted schemers? "Did they go 
about lying to teach virtue? " to use Paley's mas- 
culine thought. 

Look at the conduct of the apostles after Pente- 
cost, and then, unless we are as senseless as stones, 
we must, without a grain of doubt, be convinced of 
their honesty. During Christ's lifetime they never 
fully understood who tlieir Master was, what He 
came to do, or what they had to do themselves. 
They were always looking for Him to begin His 
open part as a temporal Messiah. They expected 


Him to drive the Romans away, sit on David's 
throne al Jerusalem, and let them sit on His right 
hand and His left hand. That was still their dream 
even after His resurrection. The last question to 
Him on earth was, " Lord, wilt Thou at this time 
restore again the kingdom of Israel ? " That is to 
say, Wilt Thou drive the Romans away and sit on 
David's throne, and let us sit on Thy right hand 
and left ? 

You know what the Lord replied — " It is not 
for you to know the times or the seasons which the 
Father has put in His own power." He did not en- 
courage their prurient curiosity any more than 
He indulged their earthly spirit. And I take 
the liberty to say, that I think Christ would 
have snubbed some of these "second coming" 
people, if He had lived in our day. I mean the 
people who wUl have their favourite belief for 
breakfast, dinner, and supper, and who say no 
minister preaches the Gospel unless he pro- 
claims the "second coming" in every sermon. 
I do not mean that there is to be no second 
coming of Christ, but I think He Himself would 
check the absurd heat there is in some people's 
minds on this point if He were living in our day. 

Manifestly, He did not encourage their wish 
when the apostles put their last question to Him, 
but told them to go mto the world and preach the 
Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the 


name of the Father, and of the Son, and of £ 
Holy Ghost. "And, lo ! " said He, "I am with 
you to the end of the world." He was 11111/1 i/tem : 
that was to be their encouragement and support, 
not the hot and restless expectations about His 
" second coming." And they were to wait at Jeru- 
salem, no/ for His " second coming ; " but for the 
descent of the Holy Spirit, who should guide them 
and show them what they had to do. 

" A eJot/d received Him from their sight " — the 
Schekinah, one feels persuaded, it must have been — 
and away they went to Jerusalem, their hearts burn- 
ing full of love to their dear Lord, and their souls 
full of faith in Him. They continvied all with one 
accord in prayer, and were together in one place, 
when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the 
fonn of distributed {no( " cloven ") tongues of fire, 
and they arose and spake with tongues, and the 
multitude who crowded upon them and heard them 
expressed great amazement. 

Now, when the " baptism of fire " had been re- 
ceived, the apostles knew what they had to do ; they 
understand it now. They know their work is to be 
a spiritual work, and they set about it in thorough 
earnest, and the infant church is at once composed 
of three thousand souls. Listen to Peter, who has 
become the speaker among the apostles ; listen to 
him addressing the wondering crowd after the heal- 
ing of tlie lame man at the beautiful gate of the 


temple ; listen to him and remember that some of 
that very crowd might have cried, " Cruciry Him ! " 
in Pilate's ears but a few weeks before. 

"Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and de- 
sired a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed 
the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the 
dead, whereof we are witnesses. Repent therefore, 
that your sins may be blotted out when the times 
of refreshing shall come from the presence of the 

" The priest and the captain of the teitiple and 
the Sadducees, came upon " the Apostles as they 
taught and "laid hands on them, and put them in 
hold unto the next day." And when, the next 
day, they are brought up before the high priest and 
his friends, they testify, while the restored lame 
man stands beside them — " By the name of Jesus 
Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God 
hath raised from the dead, even by him, doth this 
man stand before you whole." 

The high priest and his friends cannot deny that 
a " notable miracle" has been wTought, so they let 
them go after a little threatening. But the work of 
the "unlearned and ignorant men," as they were 
deemed, spreads till it shakes Jerusalem, and the 
high priest and his friends of the sect of the Sad- 
ducees are " filled with indignation," and seize the 
Apostles and put rhem diis time in the common 
prison. " But the angel of die Lord, by night. 


opened the prison doors and brought them forth, 
and said, Go, stand and speak in the Temple to the 
people all lie words of this life." And so, when 
the ofBcers found the prison locked and bolted 
next morning but the prisoners gone, the high 
authorities are in an alarm. 

" Did we not straicly command you," says the 
high priest to the apostles when they are once 
more brought before him, " that you should not 
teach in this name ? and behold, ye have filled 
Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring 
this Man's blood upon us !" 

"We ought to obey God rather than men," 
answers Peter and the other apostles. What a 
change in Peter ! Lately, when left to himself — for 
God has to leave us to ourselves when we grow 
over-confident, in order that we may discover oidfl 
weakness — when left to himself, I say, a poor s^H 
vanC maid frightened him, and he denied hu9 
Master. See him now, when the Holy Spirit fills 
his sou! I " We ought to obey God rather than 
men," he says to the high priesL He cares iieither 
for high priest or low priest, nor would he 1 
cared for the whole Sanhedrim, if they bad t 
present frowning upon him. 

"And when they had beaten them andcomniandec 
them again not to speak in the name of Jesus, they 
let them go." But the apostles " departed tram the 
presence of the council, rejoicing that they wer 





counted worthy to suffer shame for His name!" 
No more thought about sitting on His right hand 
and left — no zest for woridly honour. They know 
it is to he suffering and persecution to the end ; but 
they rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer 
shame for His name, and can shout — " Welcome 
the shame — welcome the suffering — welcome the 
persecution ! " 

Did any apostle ever say before he died, "It is 
all a sham. Christ never rose from the dead. It 
was only a juggle that we contrived that we might 
get something by it I" What ; the men who were 
stoned in the street — hunted from city to city — and 
some of them put to death? Oh, nay; their say- 
ing was of another kind. " Do what you will with 
us. Cast us to the lions — bum us alive — crucify 
us, as you crucified our Master, take our hves in 
what way you choose, but we still tell you Christ is 
risen from the dead. We have seen Him, and 
spoken with Him, and received his command to 
preach His name. And we must tell it, and we 
will tell it, for we feel the power of His resurrection 
in our own souls!" 

And they did tell it, and God helped them, and 
the truth of Christ spread over many lands, and it 
is spreading still ; and thank God it has spread to 
us, and I trust many of us feel its power. Oh, let 
us all try to spread it still more. Will you, young 
men, get these evidences into youi minds, and 


rehearse them in the ears of your sceptical acqiid 
ances? Will some of you devote yourselves to a 
new mission, and live solely to spread these 
evidences ? I have felt myself alone for these four- 
teen years, while constantly traversing this our loved 
British ground in every direction. There ought to 
be at least one hundred men in these realms devot- 
ing themselves entirely to this work. Will some of 
you young men — I ask again, and ask earnestly — 
prepare yourselves for this championship of the 
truth of Christ? Get these evidences into your 
minds, 1 entreat you; but above all, get "Christ 
formed in your hearts, the hope of glory." That 
will make you eager and valiant soldiers for your 
Lord May God make us all His true soldiers, and 
enable us to fight the good fight of faith, that at last 
we may win the crown of life, for Christ's sake. ■ 




By ihe Most Rev. the LOED ARCHBISHOP OF TORE, 

Fifth Edition. 

By the Very Rev. R. PAYHE BMITH, D.D., Dean of 

Canterbury. Second Edition. 

By the Rer. W. JACKBON, M.A., F.8.A., late Fellow of 

Worcester College. Oxford, Fourth Edition. 


By the Rev. GEORQE EAWLINSDH, U.A., Camden 

Professorof Ancient History, Oxford. Second Edition, 


By the Right Bev. the LORD BISHOP OF CARLISLE. 

Second Edition, 


By REV. JOHN STODGHTON, D.D, Third Edition. 

By Ebv, J. H. BIGG, D,D., Principal of Westminster 

Training College. Second Edition. 

By Est, CHAELES EOT. M.A.. atitlior of '■ The Jesua of 

the Evangelisla." Second Edition. 


By the Rev. 8TAMLEY LEATHE8, BIA., Professor of 

Hebrew, King's College. Second Edition. 


By the Eight Rev. the LORD BISHOP OF ELY, Second 



By Eav. F. C. COOK, ALA., Canon of Exeter. Second 


London: Hodder & Stoughton, 17, Palemtw.*.^:^ "Sss^- 

SDr. ^vtsHsn^e on t^e 

Just Published in Svo, price 14E. clotb. 
E. DE Phebsense, D.D. Ttanslaled by Miss Annie 
Hah WOOD. 
''Hic sm? graphic powaf which enabled tUs dodnguishcd -wrEtq- to 

eanii, are hrre displayed in sketching tlie poK-Apo^iolic nii»iaiu and 
parseculiollA, the Fathen of the tecDnd and third centuries, and the 
leadieg features of the Apoloey which sought to jvtiily their faith to 
the WDtld. It is another iiulalineDt IDwanb a rcallypopulnr hialory of 

deeply movioe al(^ whidi M. Do Preucnsf reproduces with such Jilc- 
like fideUly^ya*- ^ull 

"LiLeaU his works cf a 
cturesque style, and abunda 

p, Ihcy wiU find it 

bly preserved the livacit^ __ 
— British QuarUrfy Kn-trvj. 

vhich go laf to csta^^h the 

trustworthy history of the struggles of the 
a style of luriy and impaDfiioiLedelDqiience. 
xian bias from beginning In end." — £n£-tisA 

jrated bi 

n the'Ufr, 

Work, and Til 

lahiable. "— j4 lltniKjIiK 

of a t^rcSi^: ^dhis'a^ma™d°and ^irait^slyle throws at- 

Cbrisdaoily. ' — Enan^Hcal MitgaiilH. 

JESUS CHRIST: His Times, Life, and Work; 

Fourth and CheapEr Edition. Crawo 8vo, ga. cloth. 

" The Life of Christ is more diamaticatty unfolded in this volume than 

inai^ other work with which wc Are flcquHinwd, "— .^/Ar/t" ' - 



luiua."— Arifui Quarlirly Rniic 
Londoa : Hodder & Stoughton, 27, Paternoster Row. 



BT 1101 ,C778 1877 C.I 1 
The brldga o> hlMory ovw Dm ■ 

rinHiiiii ^ 

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